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Government Has Scrapped A "Stay Home" Poster That Only Shows Women Doing Childcare And Cleaning

3 min read

The government has withdrawn a sexist poster designed to encourage people to stay at home, but won't disclose how it ended up being signed off and published online.

The image, shared on Facebook, attracted cristicsm over its depiction of only women engaged in domestic tasks, including standing with a mop bucket, home-schooling children, holding a baby near an ironing board and relaxing on a sofa with a man and child. 

People were quick to criticise the poster saying it was more akin to women in the 1950s and also missed out the significant role that men have played in supporting their families during the coronavirus pandemic.

The prime minister's official spokesperson said it had been withdrawn from the campaign and does not reflect the government's view on women. 

Asked how it ended up being released online, he said: "We have provided and produced information to the public throughout the pandemic to try and ensure we can communicate our key messages specifically around the importance of staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives but this does not reflect our view on women and we have removed it."

Asked who had produced it, he said: "It has been part of a lot of public information that we have produced but I would re-emphasise it has been withdrawn."

It comes after a run of adverts released by the government have come under fire for their style and messaging. 

The Times revealed that a photo tweeted out by ministers to promote the UK getting ready for post-Brexit trade was in fact a stock image of a German model who posed for a German photographer at a factory in Essen. She was holding a parcel to show what the new rules are for trade from a UK business perspective.

Last year an advert that showed a ballet dancer "Fatima" being encouraged to retrain into a career in cyber also proved an embarassment for the government.

It was released by CyberFirst, a programme led by the National Cyber Security Centre. After fierce criticism from the public, the arts sector, and the photographer who took the image, it was withdrawn by government. 

Critics said it implied a career in the arts was not valuable while there was an ongoing row about the level of support the government was providing to those in the arts. After the outcry, culture secretary Oliver Dowden described it as crass.

Earlier this week the government also found itself facing accusations of sexism over comments made by chancellor Rishi Sunak. Speaking in the Commons, Sunak told MPs that “mums everywhere” deserved gratitude for “juggling childcare and work” in lockdown, but made no mention of fathers engaging in such activity. 


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