April 19, 2021

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The Interior Breakfast

UK government withdraws sexist ‘stay home’ coronavirus campaign showing women cleaning and doing childcare



Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images


© Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

  • UK government withdraws public information campaign telling women to “stay home” during the pandemic and do domestic chores.
  • It depicted women doing household chores and looking after children while the only man in the graphic sat on a sofa.
  • “This infographic does not reflect the Government’s view and has been removed from the campaign,” a spokesperson said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The UK government has withdrawn a public information campaign urging people to “stay home” during the coronavirus pandemic, after criticism of its stereotyped depiction of women doing domestic chores and looking after children.

A government spokesperson said the advert had been withdrawn because “it does not reflect the government’s view on women.”

The advert is part of the government’s advertising campaign to encourage people in England to comply with the national COVID-19 lockdown.

It features a cartoon depiction of four houses. The first shows a man sitting on a sofa with a woman and a child, while the remaining three depict a woman ironing, looking after a child, and mopping the floor.

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It had originally been published on the government’s Facebook page but has since been deleted.



text, timeline: UK government


© UK government
UK government

The advert had drawn intense criticism on social media, where users said it promoted outdated gender stereotypes.

Dr. Pragya Agarwal, a behavioural and data scientist, said the advert reinforced “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 person wrote: “As a scientist working on this terrible disease, it feels like a kick in the teeth to see women represented like their only place is at home.”

Downing Street refused to comment on which department had been responsible for producing and approving the graphic.

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