Oxford University apologises after viral photo of female workers cleaning Women’s Day sign irk Netizenshttps://indianexpress.com/article/trending/trending-globally/oxford-university-apologises-after-photo-of-female-workers-cleaning-womens-day-sign-goes-viral-5092889/

Oxford University apologises after viral photo of female workers cleaning Women’s Day sign irk Netizens

Captured by Associate Professor Dr Sophie Smith, who works at the premier institute, it shows the female worker using a mop to erase the chalk message as a group of male security guards stand idly by. The photo quickly went viral and led to a huge debate online.

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While some thought she was just doing her job, others argued writing with chalk in Oxford campus is a tradition and not vandalism. (Source: @DrSophieSmith/ Twitter)

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, while big corporate giants like McDonalds and KFC were flipping and swapping the logos, and law enforcement groups were pledging not to ‘Let it Go’ if women were harassed, at Oxford University a woman staffer was made to clean a sign that read ‘Happy International Women’s Day’. Thanks to social media, someone caught the ‘shameful’ act on camera and posted it on Twitter that led to a huge furore online.

The image, which is now going viral across social media platform garnered over 22,000 retweets, at the time of writing. Captured by Associate Professor Dr Sophie Smith, who works at the premier institute, it shows the female worker using a mop to erase the chalk message as a group of male security guards stand idly by. Pointing out the irony, she wrote, “Oxford security makes a woman cleaner scrub out “Happy International Women’s Day” on the Clarendon steps. What an image for #IWD.”

Very soon the image started doing rounds on the Internet and led to a great debate. “Totally shocked to see 4 men standing around talking while a woman works,” remarked one. While another wrote, “Certainly a ‘What is wrong with this picture’ moment. Happy International Women’s day to all my sisters,” in response to people who thought “it’s not a big deal” and she was doing her job.

While some tried to justify that wall graffiti is a nuisance and even compared to “vandalism”, others were quick to highlight chalk messages at Oxford are “tradition” and are not made to clean away instantly.

After a huge buzz, Oxford University apologised to Dr Smith and wrote, “We are deeply sorry for this and for offence caused. International Women’s Day is hugely important to Oxford. This should not have happened.”

But the young professor was not fully satisfied with just an apology. She further wrote, “I appreciate your apology, but far more importantly can you please make sure that the woman asked to remove the message receives a heartfelt apology, a warm cup of tea, the rest of the day off and, along with all our precarious staff, good enough pay to live in this city.”

What do you think about the image and the debate?