A female cleaner removes an International Women's Day message from Oxford University steps

LATEST NEWS

This image shows exactly why International Women’s Day is necessary

A female cleaner removes an International Women's Day message from Oxford University steps (Photo: Twitter @DrSophieSmith)

A female cleaner was asked to remove an International Women’s Day message from some steps at Oxford University – on International Women’s Day

Added on

By Emily Baker on

Yesterday, an image of a female cleaner emerged on Twitter. She was scrubbing the steps of an Oxford University building, where someone had written “Happy International Women’s Day”, while four men stand above her, idly looking on. According to Dr Sophie Smith, the academic who tweeted the picture, it was the security men who ordered the woman to remove the message.

The irony of ordering a woman to clean an International Women’s Day graffiti on International Women’s Day is obviously lost on the men in the picture but, to most women, the picture quickly became a symbolic image. The theme of this year’s day was Press For Progress, and this image projects exactly why that progress is needed.

Twitter users agreed that the image of the cleaner went directly against the message of International women’s day:

Oxford University apologised for the circumstances under which the message was removed, tweeting, “We are deeply sorry for this and for offence caused. International Women's Day is hugely important to Oxford. This should not have happened.” Dr Smith, however, was more concerned about the woman in the picture, replying, “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.”

We have a whole year until the next International Women’s Day and we have a lot of fights ahead of us until then – abortion rights in Ireland, #MeToo and Times Up, equal pay and violence against women and girls, to name a few. But there will also be the small battles, the little acts of injustice – like the one shown in this picture – that we can challenge on a daily basis. To clear a forest, you have to start by cutting down individual trees.

@emilyrbakes

Sign up

Love this? Sign up to receive our Today in 3 email, delivering the latest stories straight to your inbox every morning, plus all The Pool has to offer. You can manage your email subscription preferences at My Profile at any time

or
A female cleaner removes an International Women's Day message from Oxford University steps (Photo: Twitter @DrSophieSmith)
Tagged in:
International Women's Day
news
women at work

Tap below to add
the-pool.com to your homescreen

Close