A story about George Wimpey Homes taking the novel step of banning wolf-whistling on their sites in Bristol was seized on with enthusiasm by the media today. Richard Goad, the housebuilder's sales and marketing director, announced that wolf whistling was banned on all six sites in the area and remarked, "I know lots of women don’t mind it – my wife is thrilled if she gets a whistle, and she’s not happy about me bringing this measure in – but it does make many women feel uncomfortable."
When reading the piece, a wave of deja vu washed over me. I was sure that I had heard this story before. A quick Google produced a a rush of hits - including a Woman's Hour feature back in 2001 after a couple of builders proposed to stop pursing their lips at passing women.
But one particular entry caught my eye. Splashed all over the BBC News on this very same day last year was the very same Richard Goad, announcing that wolf whistles were banned on all George Wimpey Homes sites - in South Wales. "The reality is that nowadays more and more women visit our sites looking for a new house because many are in a position to afford to buy on their own," said Mr Goad in April 2007 .
Why ban wolfwhistles across the country when you can repeat the headline every Spring - especially in a fragile market?
4 April 2008