8 Oct 2015

French 'woman power' ad pulled for being sexist

1:43 pm on 8 October 2015

A French TV station has pulled an advert boasting about the number of women among its presenters after the ad was widely criticised as sexist.

What was meant to be an advert about the importance of gender equality in the workplace has backfired spectacularly.

It shows a family home in disarray - untidy bedrooms, a smoking oven, a man's shirt aflame on the ironing board - and asks: "Where are the women?"

The answer, of course, is "on France 3". "Most of our hosts are hostesses," reads the advert's closing tagline.

The clip was met with dismay and ridicule after its release on Twitter, with viewers calling it "a hotchpotch of sexist clichés" and asking, "What's the message here, exactly? That your female presenters have deserted their 'natural' duties - cleaning, tidying, cooking, etc?"

The idea behind the advert - that professional women are neglecting their household duties - "does not seem like a good way to promote professional equality", tweeted France's women's minister, Pascale Boistard.

Ms Boistard mentioned the new head of France 3, Delphine Ernotte, by name. Ms Ernotte, the company's first female chief, apologised for the advert, saying she had not seen it ahead of its release, and ordered it to be pulled.

The campaign was supposed to last three weeks but the advert will now not reach a television screen in France.

Ms Ernotte has a reputation for being tough on sexism. In her previous role as head of the phone company Orange, she levied €10 (£7.30; $11.20) fines for sexist remarks made in executive committee meetings, Le Monde reported.

Ms Boistard went on to thank Ms Ernotte on Twitter for her quick reaction in pulling the ad.