Tuesday, March 07, 2017
Must not suggest that women do most of the housework
Marks & Spencer has become embroiled in a sexism row over school uniforms that are labelled 'less work for mum'.
Equal-rights campaigners accused the retailer of 'reinforcing stereotypes' and pointed out that fathers are also responsible for uniforms.
The labels are on a range of boys' and girls' trousers that promise 'reinforced hems'. Costing less than £15, they boast technology that ensure hems 'stay up for longer, so that's less work for mum!'
Last night, campaign group Fathers 4 Justice announced plans to lobby M&S to change its 'prehistoric' advertising.
Founder Matt O'Connor said: 'It is disappointing to see this from a flagship retailer.
'There is this mentality among high-street stores that it's only women who shop for children. It is an insult and we'll follow this with a campaign.
'It should say 'mums and dads' or 'parents'. It is like 'Mothercare' – where is 'Fathercare'?
'It really irritates fathers, but also instils children with bad lessons about stereotypes, which is irresponsible.
'It teaches girls 'this is your preserve' and boys 'you have nothing to do with this'. That is harmful.'
Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: 'This isn't just sexism – this is M&S sexism.
'We slip into these lazy stereotypes as easily as a pair of their comfy slippers. It's 2017 and time to recognise that dads can sew, too.'
The labels also sparked discussion on social media, with one Mumsnet user writing: 'Well I won't be buying uniform from M&S this year!'
However, others sprang to M&S's defence, with one posting: 'Even in these supposed times of equality, most chores fall down to Mum.
'Even if she doesn't sew the hems herself, she's likely to take them to the tailor to have them adjusted.'
Last night M&S said its schoolwear packaging was being changed before the collection hit stores in May.
A spokesman added: 'It was never our intention to offend parents.'