There are two ways for corporates to garner attention on International Women’s Day, One is to make their actions towards embracing gender equality speak for themselves, and the other is to commit a faux pas so egregious it propels them to Twitter’s trending section.
Burger King on Monday chose the latter approach.
The UK Twitter handle of Burger King tweeted the sexist refrain, “Women belong in the kitchen.” It then replied to the tweet in an attempt to provide context, adding, “If they want to, of course. Yet only 20% of chefs are women. We’re on a mission to change the gender ratio in the restaurant industry by empowering female employees with the opportunity to pursue a culinary career. #IWD”.
If they want to, of course. Yet only 20% of chefs are women. We’re on a mission to change the gender ratio in the restaurant industry by empowering female employees with the opportunity to pursue a culinary career. #IWD
— Burger King (@BurgerKingUK) March 8, 2021
“We are proud to be launching a new scholarship programme which will help female Burger King employees pursue their culinary dreams!” the handle added.
The decision to make the message a three-part tweet, with the first part aimed at being the most controversial, makes the sexist tweet likelier to be replied to. While the first tweet had over 2.8 lakh likes and over 1.6 lakh retweets as of publishing, the second and third had significantly fewer likes, comments and retweets.
Twitter users were quick to condemn the burger company. The attempt to rebrand a sexist phrase into an empowering message on Women’s Day was also mocked.
Burger King stock went up in both India and the US but went down in the UK.
BurgerKingUK responded, “Why would we delete a tweet that’s drawing attention to a huge lack of female representation in our industry, we thought you’d be on board with this as well? We’ve launched a scholarship to help give more of our female employees the chance to pursue a culinary career.”