Council boss quits in sexism storm after councillor told her she had ‘good breeding hips’

Isabel Edgar Briancon (pictured above) took up her role in November and has since quit after alleging that a councillor told her she had 'good breeding hips'

Isabel Edgar Briancon (pictured above) took up her role in November and has since quit after alleging that a councillor told her she had 'good breeding hips'

Isabel Edgar Briancon (pictured above) took up her role in November and has since quit after alleging that a councillor told her she had ‘good breeding hips’ 

A council chief quit her job after six months claiming to have endured a torrent of sexist behaviour – including being told by a councillor that she had ‘good breeding hips’.

Isabel Edgar Briancon, the outgoing £80,000-a-year executive director of Stratford District Council, Warwickshire, said the councillor then offered to perform a pagan fertility ritual.

The high-flying official alleged another politician licked his hand before ‘forcing it into her face’ and added that her experience at the Tory-run authority had left her ‘utterly disillusioned’.

Miss Edgar Briancon, who only took up her role in November, made the allegations in a no-holds-barred Facebook post following her departure this week.

‘If you think sexism doesn’t exist anymore then read on. It is with sadness and great relief that I left my employer yesterday,’ she wrote.

She added: ‘I went on a ward walk with a councillor and he told me unashamedly that ‘I had good breeding hips’ and that if I wanted fertility support he would do a pagan ritual for me.

‘When I sat down with another councillor he told me that he thought it was a disgrace to have to enforce gender equality on a public board.

‘And, at a recent conference event, I was accosted by a councillor asking me for a kiss, forcing his hand that he had just licked into my face and telling me he ‘could tell I liked that sort of thing’.’

The council revealed Miss Edgar Briancon would be leaving in a press release last week which said it had been agreed she could take up a new role at Reading Borough Council ‘as soon as possible’.

The district council (pictured above) where Miss Briancon has now resigned following allegations of sexism

The district council (pictured above) where Miss Briancon has now resigned following allegations of sexism

The district council (pictured above) where Miss Briancon has now resigned following allegations of sexism

It added: ‘Given the annual leave that she has accrued, Isabel will not be back in the office before taking up this role.’

In the Facebook post, Miss Edgar Briancon claims she was told in a six-month performance review that it would help if she was taller.

She continued: ‘Rather than focusing on my achievements and providing meaningful feedback, I was told I needed to ‘chat’ more and do more ‘corridor’ conversations.

The feedback was that elected members wanted me to be more informal. That was it. Nothing else.

‘Taking this feedback on board I spoke to other elected members to find out where they felt my leadership needed to grow.

‘This is what I got back and I quote verbatim – ‘It would help if you were 6ft 2in’, ‘You need to throw your opinions around a bit more’ and ‘be more dominant’.’

‘I got the message. I left.

‘Culture is everything when you are faced with a bunch of men that think leadership means being a man and that a woman should be chatty, with breeding hips. Get the eff out. I shall be writing my complaint, but seriously do not have much hope for them.’

The authority has now promised to fully investigate.

A spokesman said: ‘Stratford-on-Avon District Council has a zero tolerance in relation to any form of discrimination including alleged sexism.

‘The district council therefore takes any such allegations extremely seriously and will fully investigate any complaints of inappropriate behaviour.

‘Before any investigation however, it would be inappropriate to comment further on the specific allegations at this stage.’

Independent councillor Jason Fojtik said: ‘If there is a culture of sexism within the council then it must be stamped out. The council must be promoting more women in senior roles to stop this corrosive culture from festering.’

 

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