COVID-19: Government scraps coronavirus ad after sexism complaints

The government has scrapped a coronavirus ad urging people to “stay home” after complaints of its sexist depiction of women.

The poster showed four households, three of which had women looking after children and doing housework while the final one displayed a woman reclining in a man’s arms on the sofa.

Labour MPs said it was “ridiculous” and accused ministers of having a “women problem”.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman later said the ad was being pulled, confirming: “It does not reflect the government’s view on women.”

The ad is one of a series of marketing posters impressing on people the need to follow lockdown rules, following recent record-high coronavirus deaths and cases, as well as the UK’s death toll passing 100,000.

But its imagery was what riled some, with NHS manager Kate Jarman saying: “What the actual WOMEN DO MORE THAN CHILDCARE AND HOUSEWORK is this?”

And data scientist Pragya Agarwal called the image “heteronormative” and added it was “reinforcing the view that it is a woman’s job to homeschool, clean, do the childcare”.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “It has been withdrawn and removed from the campaign.

“I will make clear that it does not reflect the government’s view on women which is why we have withdrawn it.”

He would not say who produced the image.

Labour MP Sam Tarry said afterwards it was “ridiculous if was even dreamt up in this day and age”.

While Labour MP Alex Daves-Jones tweeted: “The fact this advert was ever approved in the first place speaks volumes!

“Only after all the outrage have No.10 decided “it does not reflect the government’s view”. Do we still need to debate whether or not this UK Gov have a women problem?!”

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