Female Beefeater Subjected To Harassment By Colleagues

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 104 months ago
Female Beefeater Subjected To Harassment By Colleagues

beefeater_bear.jpg
Warning: not all beefeaters are this cuddly (or this chained up. What the hell?) - image by Ronald Hackston from the Londonist Flickr pool
Should we really be surprised that sexism is apparently alive and well in an institution that requires its members to wear uniforms based on a 500 year old design? The first female Beefeater - sorry, Yeoman of the Guard - Moira Cameron, has been subjected to a bullying campaign; two of her male colleagues are currently suspended and another is under investigation.

Cameron, who started working at the Tower in July 2007, revealed the kind of nonsense attitudes she was up against:

"one chap at the gate one day... said he was completely and utterly against me doing the job."

Becaaaaaause dressing up in a silly costume and being photographed by tourists is a job only the most rugged of men can do? The amount of testosterone required is evidenced by the bullies' actions: they defaced Cameron's £1,400 uniform and left notes in her locker. That's the kind of thing 11 year old schoolgirls would consider beneath them, never mind men with at least 22 years' armed service under their belts.

And that, ultimately, is what's really sad about this episode. The youngest a Beefeater can be is 42, so this is a group of middle aged men with distinguished army or air force careers, who are somehow threatened by an equally qualified woman. At least Chief Yeoman Warder John Keohane has a more enlightened attitude:

"If you went back into the 1800s, life for ladies was very different. All that's happened is that life has moved on."

Um, precisely?

Last Updated 02 November 2009