Wednesday 21 March 2018

TfL apologises over ‘sexist’ Emily Davison joke on centenary of women’s suffrage

The sign made a jovial reference to the suffragette’s death.

An Underground station and the sign
An Underground station and the sign

By Taylor Heyman and Edd Dracott, Press Association

Transport for London has apologised after a sign making light of Emily Davison’s death was put up at one of its stations.

Evelyn Clegg, 30, tweeted a photo of a sign she saw at Colliers Wood Station on Wednesday morning, just a day after the 100 year anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, calling on TfL to remove it.

The sign read: “100 years ago, suffragette Emily Davison died after throwing herself in front of the King’s Horse.

“History remembers her as being influential in giving women the right to vote.

“What history doesn’t remember is her husband, who didn’t get his tea that night!”

Ms Clegg said she was “furious” when she saw the sign.

“Like a lot of people, yesterday I was celebrating 100 years of the first women getting the vote, and in fact spent yesterday evening at an event celebrating the suffragettes and modern feminists,” she told the Press Association.

“After such a positive and inspiring day, to see that sign this morning was an unpleasant shock and reminded me how far we have to go until women are taken as seriously as men.”

The Suffragettes

Along with many on Twitter, Ms Clegg also pointed out the sign was five years out of date, as Davison died in 1913.

TfL responded to Evelyn’s tweet swiftly, saying it would speak to the station and have the sign removed.

She said: “I’m pleased with TFL’s response (which was quick and correct).

“But obviously the sign should never have been put up in the first place and it looks like they need to provide better training for their staff members in diversity and equality.

“Yesterday was a day for celebration of these brave women, and this sign is so disappointing in its recycling of lazy sexist jokes.

“It could have been used for a positive and educational purpose, so it’s a waste of an opportunity as well as being disrespectful.

“I’m sure I’ll be accused of ‘not being able to take a joke’ but humour based on the death of a woman who was fighting for basic equality is completely inappropriate.”

A TfL spokesperson said: “This message was wrong and inappropriate in multiple ways, and completely unacceptable.

“An investigation is under way in to who thought this was a good idea, and the appropriate action will be taken.

“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and actively work to create more opportunities for women in our industry and celebrate those who fought for the rights of women.”

Press Association

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