Most of us are guilty of watching the boardroom antics unfold each year, hanging on until the last few minutes when the ominous finger point from Lord Alan Sugar puts the poor candidate out of their misery with, "You’re fired". But from the beginning of the latest series now, in its thirteenth season, gender inequality is rife.

The premise of the show is to complete a series of business-related tasks to secure a quarter of a million pounds investment from the infamous Lord Sugar himself. The first episode is where we meet the potential candidates and we see the teams always being split by gender.

As the series goes on the teams will eventually mix but the first initial divide is set by gender. Which shows that men are still separate from women in the business world.

Man up

Lord Sugar himself refers to the female team as ‘girls’, slightly patronising as many are running their own companies, yet this makes them sound like they immature and inexperienced. One of the candidates, James White, was told numerous times by the business giant to, "man up" as if to say men are not allowed to show emotion in the workplace. Likewise, that women show too much emotion, and at times the female team were viewed as catty, bitchy and callous when truth be told most of the men were acting like this too, but no comments were made about them.

It seems it wasn’t just the women who were experiencing the inequality this season, with the men getting dealt the raw end of the deal too. In the car task Andrew was told by the women to sit in the car and look pretty for suggesting that a woman should be putting on lipstick in a car advert. Sympathy, however, was not forthcoming as he also made some dubious comments about women’s football in a previous task.

It is just a shame that in 2017 men and women are still having their capabilities judged by their gender and not their actual skills. Will the workplace ever be gender neutral? After all, there are very few jobs that require you to be one gender or another.

Siobhan Smith felt the wrath of feminist Karren Brady when she dug herself a hole she could not get out of by suggesting you had to be attractive to sell to men.


Karren Brady has said; “I insisted on equality when I negotiated my contract. I would not have allowed anything else. I’m totally a feminist in that I want equality – not more but not less.”

Northern favourite Michaela Wain was also guilty of some questionable offhand remarks saying the male team will be fine if she went over to their team because "they just do as they’re told like good little men".

And who could forget the most cringe-worthy moment of the series which saw Elizabeth and Michaela objectify and leer at the poor unsuspecting male models which turned up to audition for their catwalk show? It seems the tables have turned, but not for the better. Viewers have claimed the show should not have shown the sexist treatment and claimed it was the show using their "double standards".

Many took to social media Wednesday evening when it was revealed that Alan Sugar controversially fired sure favourite and established business women Michaela in favour of the young rookie James. Some including money expert Martin Lewis called it a bad business decision. Was this to keep viewers on their toes on Lord Sugar’s part or another example of Gender Inequality in the workplace? On paper she was clearly the more favourable candidate and business partner so why replace her with someone less so? Was the decision more based on gender than credentials? This also is mirrored in why aide Claude conducts some of the interviews, but accomplished businesswoman Karren Brady does not, even though she too has been observing the candidates throughout.

The most feminist series yet?

This series has been branded by website as the most feminist yet, with the women dominating in success over the men in tasks. There were more women in the final interviews than men, but things were far from equal between the sexes. It could be argued that the women candidates came out on top this year. With the men being on the receiving end of what women have been experiencing for years, it does not make it an equal environment. With many being judged on their gender and not their personalities or skills.

There are many gender issues that still reside in the workplace, lack of flexible working for parents, maternity discrimination, sexism, and most of all, the still-widening gender pay gap.

Unfortunately, what could be an example for others to follow, The Apprentice is setting any progress of equality in the workplace back a step. With gender stereotypes, many are working hard to throw over, objectifying behaviour from both sexes, is The Apprentice really the best example of a fair workplace environment?

The final for the series will be shown on Sunday at 9 pm BBC1.