Can I only accept female clients?

Female clients for female only staff

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I know a couple of ladies who want to work as accountants but for religious or personal reasons don't interact with males. They have asked me, as a female accountant, if I can open a firm so they can work with me, without them having to speak with male clients. I know from experience that its is better for the person responsible for the accounting work to be the one to communicate with the client. For curiosity, if I were to only accept female clients and only have all female staff, is that considered discrimination or could I do it as type of targeted client? Something of a point for female clients who may prefer a female accountant.

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By WinterDragon
04th Apr 2024 17:18

As others have mentioned, this is bordering on discrimination however I don't view your intentions as misandry nor borne out of hatred of men. I find it reasonable in many cases for women to prefer working with/for other women as I (a cis-male) will never understand women's issues without living through the same experiences.

You'll need a legal opinion but Schedule 3 Part 7 of the Equality Act 2010 does allow for some exceptions relating to protected-characteristic discrimination for various reasons. This is how things like women-only gyms and over 50s cruises are legally allowed to exist.

My not-a-lawyer gut leans towards targeting a certain client base to be more effective like specialising in female-dominated industries. I doubt you would attract many female clients if you claimed to specialise in helping bricklayers and waste management companies.

And recruitment could be an issue if you needed to advertise open positions as the law seems to be quite robust on this.

There's a lot of potential pitfalls which may put many off but there could be a narrow path that you could follow that falls within the boundaries of the law.

As for the ethics/morality - ask a philosopher!

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Replying to WinterDragon:
By FactChecker
04th Apr 2024 17:34

Careful with those assumptions ... from ONS-derived data for 2022:
* within the building sector, 24,000 females are employed in roles like bricklayers, roofers, and scaffolders, making up five per cent of the total workforce in these trades​​ - and a further 10,000 or so in plumbing and HVAC installations.

No idea how many of those are not purely EEs, but there could be a small niche sector (and a growing one) ... even if I don't think that's what OP had in mind.

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By tom123
05th Apr 2024 08:12

I read a story in the Times last weekend about a young-ish female MOT tester, who set up a car repair garage with other female mechanics, and tended to attract female customers - who were perhaps a bit intimidated by the more typical set up.

If I recall, they also tended to attract gay men as customers too - for similar reasons.

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By mohammedshoaib
07th Apr 2024 01:00

I will happily take all the clients you don’t want.

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By carnmores
07th Apr 2024 08:26

And not a mention of the Garrick

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