HONG KONG — Fashion and design school Raffles International College has apologized and pulled an advertisement which urged prospective students to be “Not just a housewife, be something more.”
The Facebook campaign, which was to promote its workshops in Hong Kong, also said: “Design your dreams. Think about what you live for.”
The school is part of Raffles Education Corporation, which established its first college in Singapore in 1990 and now counts 28 colleges across 12 countries. Its schools, which operate in cities such as Sydney; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Shanghai; New Delhi; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Bangkok, teach fashion design, marketing, and other design disciplines.
“We are very sorry to know that our advertisement made some of the audiences feel uncomfortable and offended,” a spokeswoman for Raffles said. “Please accept our sincere apology for this advertisement message on Facebook. This advertisement is no longer available on our Facebook page.”
“The intention of this message was originally inspiring and encouraging but our team has failed to deliver the exact meaning with no excuses.”
It is unclear how long the advertisement ran or if it appeared on other platforms.
Angie Ng, a sociologist and coordinator of activist group Slutwalk Hong Kong, said the advertisement is problematic because it “creates a dichotomy between ‘housewives’ and ‘career women’…degrading women who for various reasons are housewives, such as those for whom childcare is too expensive or who simply enjoy caring work.”
She added: “The ad suggests design is a feminized field of work and study, furthering gender stereotypes.”