Study finds quarter of UK lap dancers have degrees

LONDON Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:37am EDT

An exotic dancer in a London pub January 2, 2002. REUTERS/Russell Boyce

An exotic dancer in a London pub January 2, 2002.

Credit: Reuters/Russell Boyce

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LONDON (Reuters) - One in four women who works as a lap dancer in Britain has a university degree and the majority of those involved in the industry enjoy their work, earning up to 48,000 pounds ($74,500) a year, academic research has found.

Rather than being pressured or forced into the job, researchers from the University of Leeds discovered that many women had chosen to get into lap dancing for the money or because it fitted in with their main careers.

"These young women do not buy the line that they are being exploited, because they are the ones making the money out of a three-minute dance and a bit of a chat," said Dr Teela Sanders, one of the researchers, told the Independent newspaper.

"You have got to have a certain way about you to do it. They say 80 percent of the job is talking. These women do work hard for their money -- you don't just turn up and wiggle your bum."

Preliminary findings from a year-long study found that on average a lap dancer took home 232 pounds for a shift after paying the club commission and fees, giving most an annual income of between 24,000 and 48,000 pounds.

Those working in the industry included actresses and models who found it fitted in with their other careers or training, while unemployed graduates realized dancing paid better than other forms of employment such as bar work.

The research, which involved interviews with 300 dancers, found there was a high level of job satisfaction and all had some qualifications.

A quarter had degrees, while one in three women were in some form of education, with about 14 percent working to fund an undergraduate course and about 6 percent to fund a postgraduate degree.

However, the study found dancers faced a lack of security and were open to financial exploitation from clubs.

"There is an issue about whether these women become trapped in the job because of the money. I think people often stay longer than they want," Sanders said.

The study comes as lap dancing clubs in Britain face tighter restrictions following a change in the law by the previous Labour government which gave councils the right to demand that all strip clubs apply for a sex establishment license.

That meant local residents could oppose a club on the basis that its presence was inappropriate whereas previously objections were only possible on licensing grounds, such as causing disorder or noise.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison)

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