Anger over women’s business honour for cross-dressing banker Times article by Lucy Bannerman 22.09.18

The original article is here.

“A male Credit Suisse director who sometimes goes to work in a wig and dress has prompted outrage by accepting a place on a list of the Top 100 Women in Business. Philip Bunce, who is married with two grow-up children, typically spends half his time as Philip and half as his female alter ego, Pippa. He says he is “gender fluid” and “non-binary.”

In previous interviews, Mr Bunce described climbing the career ladder as a man and waiting until he was “very established” and “quite senior” at the investment bank before starting to cross-dress at work four years ago.

This week he was named on the Financial Times & Her-oes Champions of Women in Business list, an annual ranking of 100 “female executives who have made a difference to women’s careers”. The organisers run a parallel list of male executives supporting women in business, but Mr Bunce chose to be nominated in the women’s category.
His inclusion has been condemned by campaigners who say it means one less accolade for biological women.

The hourly median pay of Credit Suisse’s female employees was 28.9 per cent less than that of male staff in the year to April 2017. Its gender pay gap is wider when it comes to bonuses, with men paid 56 per cent more than women. Neither Mr Bunce nor the bank would reveal the rate he was paid while working as Pippa.Kiri Tunks, co-founder of Woman’s Place UK, said: “This makes a mockery of women and their achievements and begs the question does Bunce simultaneously feature in top 100 male executives and if not, what were his particular achievements as a woman to merit inclusion in the female list?”

Kristina Harrison, an LGBT activist who was born male but transitioned 20 years said ago, she would never accept a place on an all-women shortlist as it was “insulting” to women who faced different challenges. “Being a woman is not a costume you can put on, on some days and not on others. The idea that you can become a woman by donning a wig and a dress is deeply sexist.”

She praised Mr Bunce’s willingness to challenge corporate stereotypes. “I would be the first to applaud Bunce’s gender non-conformity, especially in [the male-dominated business world] as it would be brave and boundary-pushing. It’s a shame he has to spoil it by accepting accolades for female executives, when he is clearly male.”

In an interview with Financial News last year, Mr Bunce said he “liked princess dresses, tiaras and make-up” as a four-year-old but disliked “old fashioned horrible terms like transvestite [which] have negative connotations.”

He said: “Now I split my time as Pippa and Philip about fifty-fifty. There will be some weeks where I’ll do a lot less as Pippa or Phil; other weeks, it may be more. It fluctuates based on how I feel.” Suki Sandhu, chief executive of the business rankings, said: “Lists are compiled to recognise those doing great work to further gender diversity, and this is our key criteria for inclusion.”

A bank spokesman said: “Credit Suisse is proud to be an inclusive employer which celebrates all aspect of diversity.””