Oxford University apologizes for International Women's Day gaffe that showed a woman cleaning graffiti while men looked on

The Clarendon Building at Oxford University
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Oxford University has apologized for asking a female cleaner to remove graffiti stating "Happy International Women's Day," from one of its colleges.

On Thursday, an image posted on Twitter by a professor at the United Kingdom-based university showed a woman cleaning the steps of Clarendon College. White letters spelled out the women's day greeting, while four men appear to look on.

"Oxford security makes a woman cleaner scrub out 'Happy International Women's Day' on the Clarendon steps. What an image for #IWD, @UniofOxford," posted Sophie Smith, an associate professor of political theory at Oxford.

She appeared less than pleased with the implied message, and other social media users agreed: The post went viral, receiving more than 18,000 retweets.


Oxford University responded via Twitter, saying, "We are deeply sorry for this and for offence caused. International Women's Day is hugely important to Oxford. This should not have happened."

In response, Smith called for the woman to be given a personal apology as well as "good enough pay to live in this city" — a post that was retweeted hundreds of times.


Oxford was named the world's best university in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018.

According to the International Women's Day website, March 8 "is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity."