February 23, 2016 3:00 am
Updated: February 23, 2016 7:47 pm

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart wears same suit for 15 months to highlight sexist double standards

WATCH: Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart wore the same suit for more than a year to illustrate the gender bias in what people wear. Many people notice and comment on what a woman wears, but as Jennifer Palma reports, the same can’t be said for men.

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Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart wore the same suit for 15 months and no one seemed to notice.

He wore it to council meetings and events. He even wore it when he was interviewed by Global News last September on a council matter. Neither his colleagues nor the public seemed to pay him any mind.

“It’s a nice suit. It served me well,” said Stewart.

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Stewart didn’t put on the same nondescript dark blue jacket and trousers for more than a year because he’s lazy. He was trying to make a point about how men and women in the public eye are treated differently.

“I think the point I was trying to capture is that we do seem to treat women differently than men in lots of different occupations, particularly those in public life,” he said.

That double standard is something women in the public eye know all too well. Last year, Global News meteorologist Kristi Gordon received hate mail about what she wore on air during her pregnancy.

WATCH:  Kristi Gordon deals with a hater

Even politicians like B.C. Premier Christy Clark and U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton have been targets.

“I think we definitely know that women experience different levels of judgment based on their appearance and their bodies,” said West Coast LEAF’s Kendra Milne.

“Largely I think that has to do with the fact that there seems to be a misconception that womens’ bodies and appearance are kind of public property and subject to public debate in a way that men definitely don’t experience.”

Stewart didn’t keep his social experiment a complete secret. He hinted at it on Facebook in November 2014 after learning about a male TV personality in Australia who wore the same suit on air for a year to highlight sexist double standards.

As for the suit, it’s been cleaned several times over the past 15 months. And Stewart may not be done with it yet.

“I could wear this another couple of years,” he said.

WATCH: Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart joins the Morning News to talk more about his social experiment 

– With files from Jennifer Palma

© 2016 Shaw Media

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