From turquoise suits to Athena SWAN gold

Part 2 of the ‘Tales from Anne’ series today. If you missed Part 1; ‘Croissants in the morning’ you can catch up here.

From turquoise suits to Athena SWAN gold

We have Liz Atchison, who worked as the Librarian, Curator and Archivist until her retirement in 1997, to thank for changing the dress code for women at the John Innes Centre.

The story goes that back in the 1970s while out shopping, Liz came across a turquoise flared trouser suit that she just had to have. She snapped it up and wore it to work proudly the following Monday.

During the day she met the Director, Roy Markham who looked rather askance but passed no comment.

However, later that day a memo went around the site, reminding people of the dress code and that slacks were not really permitted on the female form. Liz was a bit upset as she loved her new suit.

Shortly afterwards, on yet another shopping trip, Liz, sporting the offending trouser suit, bumped into the Director’s wife in the city, who remarked that she loved Liz’s attire. Liz replied; “Well you might like it, but your husband doesn’t. I have been banned from wearing it at work”. Mrs Markham reassured her; “Leave it with me…”

Since that day we have all, women included, been allowed to wear trousers to work. You could say our recent Athena SWAN gold award can be traced all the way back to that turquoise flared trouser suit. It’s a shame no photographic evidence exists.