Tangs Celebrates International Women’s Day
In case you’re wondering what to get your wife/girlfriend for International Women’s Day, never fear, Tangs is here!
International Women’s Day was on Wednesday (March 8), but we don’t blame people for not knowing that, as it’s not really a day that’s widely celebrated in Singapore (i.e. no public holiday) — except by stores trying to capitalise on a marketing opportunity.
Tangs duly did so, but unfortunately it was in a way that irked women’s activists. The well-known Singapore department store offered discounts on a range of items they probably deemed as “woman-friendly”, including a couple of frying pans.
Here’s a screenshot of the International Women’s Day promotions on the Tangs website, with the frying pans prominently displayed at the top:
Aware Not Happy
Women’s group Aware (Association of Women for Action and Research) was not happy.
Ms Jolene Tan, Aware’s head of advocacy and research, told Thomson Reuters Foundation that what Tangs did appears to ignore the actual purpose of the day — “to honour the struggles of women for equality, safety and respect”.
She also highlighted what she called the struggle of women in Singapore for better representation in company boardrooms.
It seems like a day that is supposed to highlight women’s strive for equal treatment has been turned into just the opposite by the Singapore retailer — a reminder that even big companies like Tangs still sees women as mainly responsible for domestic affairs like cooking.
For Women Only?
We kind of understand what she’s talking about. While other items promoted with discounts for International Women’s Day were mainly products solely used by women, like women’s cosmetics, skin care and shoes, frying pans aren’t exactly solely for women’s use.
Here are the other items listed for the International Women’s Day promotion:
As in, we think frying pans can also be used by men too, but why are they listed in a promotion for International Women’s Day, along with items that are used solely by women?
We wonder if they would list frying pans under a promotion for a male-oriented event, for example for a Father’s Day promotion?
Lest you think only people who browsed the website would be aware that a woman’s place is in the kitchen, Tangs also sent the promotion in an email blast to members and subscribers:
Ms Tan did make a good point at how International Women’s Day has been reduced to a marketing opportunity — well, just like Christmas, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and almost any holiday and special day.
“Sadly, too many retailers present it as a consumerist event to be trivialised through sales and discounts rather than attention to the serious issue of gender equality,” she said.
Don’t Trivialise It
We do think that issues like women’s rights can be trivialised and turned into excuses for promotions by businesses.
And sometimes these businesses aren’t sensitive enough to the actual meaning of the day before rolling out their associated promotions.
But we think some good can come out of this case — it may serve to reveal unconscious prejudices we have, and highlight how long we still have to go before women are seen as equal competent in the workplace.