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Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart wore same suit for 15 months and nobody noticed

Richard Stewart, the mayor of Coquitlam, B.C., says he wore the same suit for 15 months to highlight double standards faced by women in politics when it comes to appearance.

Stewart said stunt highlighted the emphasis on looks of women in politics

'When I see the inadvertent barriers that society puts in place about women and their career advancement, barriers that don't exist for men, I kind of want to draw attention to them,' said Coquitlam, B.C., Mayor Richard Stewart, shown in his well-worn suit. (Richard Stewart)

What's your record for consecutive days wearing the same outfit to work? The mayor of Coquitlam, B.C., Richard Stewart, likely has you beat.

He said he wore a "plain, off-the-rack, boring, dark blue suit" to all public events and council meetings for 15 months in a row to highlight double standards women in politics face when it comes to appearance.

"I had heard so many of the comments that sometimes happen during elections. I read an article about a journalist in Australia who'd taken a similar action," he told CBC's On The Coast guest host Chris Brown.

"Nobody noticed … It became evident to me that nobody was going to notice, that this was not simply something that we remark upon when it comes to male politicians."

Stewart managed to keep his secret from his colleagues, staff, constituents and even his own family.

"I've got daughters, and when I see the inadvertent barriers that society puts in place about women and their career advancement, barriers that don't exist for men, I kind of want to draw attention to them," he said.

Stewart, a former MLA, says former female colleagues who still sit in the B.C. Legislature have told him about the frequent remarks directed to them about their appearance.

"They've gotten angry emails from constituents saying that suit … is gaudy, or inappropriate, or you wear that too much, why don't you wear something else — comments that I've never, ever heard as a man."


To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart wore same suit for 15 months and nobody noticed

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