LONDON, March 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - British
retailer Marks & Spencer apologised on Monday for a school
uniform label criticised by men and women as sexist that boasted
the clothing range would be "less work for mum".
Consumers posted photos on Twitter of the labels which read:
"Reinforced hems stay up for longer, so that's less work for
mum!", with many complaining that the label reinforced gender
stereotypes that only women can sew.
Marks & Spencer, which has about 1,380 stores worldwide,
apologised and said the label would be changed.
"It was never our intention to offend parents. In fact, we
had already changed our packaging for the new range, which will
be available from May," the retailer said in a statement.
Women's rights group, Fawcett Society, said the implication
that only mothers can sew was old-fashioned.
"We slip into these lazy stereotypes as easily as a pair of
their comfy slippers. It's 2017, time to recognise that dads can
sew too," said Chief Executive Sam Smethers in a statement.
Campaigner Matt O'Connor from equal parenting rights
campaign group Fathers 4 Justice said excluding fathers from
retail branding was "unacceptable" and "casual sexism".
"Excluding dads from signage and labelling is 'prehistoric
stereotyping' and unacceptable. It sends a damaging message to
men, women and children and reinforces gender stereotypes," he
said in a statement.
(Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Belinda
Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the
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issues, conflicts, global land and property rights, modern
slavery and human trafficking, women's rights, climate change
and resilience. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories)