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‘Sexist’ offer to staff lands global bank in hot water

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

International bank HSBC has found itself in hot water after a Valentine’s Day staff offer was condemned as sexist and outdated.

The Valentine’s Day special deal for staff in Hong Kong offered discounted laptops “for him” and vacuum cleaners “for her”.

The deal drew criticism from staff in Hong Kong and London after is was posted in an employee chatroom, a sourced told Reuters.

The offer was described as a “HSBC Staff Offer”, but an HSBC spokesperson told Reuters the offer was from a third-party source who manage their own marketing.

“HSBC is committed to gender diversity in the workplace.”

The company revealed last year that it paid its female staff in Britain 59 per cent less on average than their male colleagues in 2017. This is the worst gender pay gap among the big UK firms.


The company said the pay gap comes down to the disproportionate number of men in senior positions.

“We recognise that there is more work to do to address our gender balance at senior levels,” the lender said.

It’s not the first time companies have fallen foul of gender stereotypes

Closer to home, Sofitel received criticism last year after publishing an advertisement depicting a couple in bed, with the man reading the Australian Financial Review and the woman reading a Chanel coffee table book.

This Ultra Tune ad was also one of Australia’s most-complained about ads of 2018. It shows three women crashing their car off the road to avoid a tiger. Mike Tyson and a car repairman save the day.

The ad was blasted as “out of touch” for portraying women as helpless.

But that’s nothing compared to decades gone by. This Volkswagen ad from 1962 promotes the car as a great deal because it’s woman-proof.

Image: Volkswagen
Image: Volkswagen

“She can jab the hood. Graze the door. Or bump off the bumper. It may make you furious, but it won’t make you poor.”

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