Tories forced to withdraw ‘unbelievably sexist’ ad campaign after furious backlash

Tories forced to withdraw ‘unbelievably sexist’ ad campaign after furious backlash
Alberto Pezzali-Pool/Getty Images

The Tories have been forced to retract a “sexist” and “heteronormative” Covid-19 advert that exclusively depicts women cleaning and undertaking childcare duties.

Under the words “Coronavirus: Stay Home. Save Lives.” a graphic of four households contains depictions of women ironing, mopping and reading to children. The only man in the image can be seen lounging on the sofa next to a woman.

The advert was met with a swift backlash. Twitter user Dr Pragya Agarwal wrote:

“Who made this? And who approved it? Heteronormative. Reinforcing the view that it is a woman’s job to homeschool, clean, do the childcare. Are the men out there fighting a war or something?”

Another added:

“How on earth could anyone look at that and not immediately think it was a terrible set of stereotypes?”

Others described it as “sexist" and “exhausting”.

The government withdrew the advert, which had been posted to Facebook. indy100 has reached out to the government to find out more, but a spokesperson told Glamour magazine: 

“This infographic does not reflect the government's view and has been removed from the campaign.”

The U-turn comes shortly after chancellor Rishi Sunak was criticised for telling the Commons that “we owe mums everywhere an enormous debt of thanks for doing the difficult job of juggling childcare and work at this tricky time”.

Although Sunak later clarified that he was specifically answering a question about mothers, some still felt he could have “just said ‘parents’ instead of mums”, given that these responsibilities shouldn’t just fall to women – despite the fact that, disproportionately, they do.

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