Oxford University’s Department of Materials has come under fire from a former student, accused of sexism after an invitation for an alumni event invited “partners and wives” to attend the evening.
Dr Anna Ploszajski, who left the university in 2013 and has since been named Young Engineer of the Year 2017 by the Royal Academy of Engineering, shared the email sent by the department on Twitter with the hashtag #EverydaySexism.
She captioned the photo by asking “in which universe is it acceptable to say, “Partners and wives are very welcome” on an invitation?”.
— Anna Ploszajski (@AnnaPloszajski) March 29, 2018
Her tweet has since gathered support on the social media platform, with Sally Le Page, an award-winning science communicator currently studying for a PhD at Oxford, also drawing attention to the fact that the department had addressed the email to ‘alumnus’, which as she notes “is masculine singular”.
They also addressed it to "alumnus" which is masculine singular.
— Sally Le Page (@sallylepage) March 29, 2018
Dr Zoe Davies, a Biochemist, also replied to Ploszajski’s tweet, writing “Bring along the little lady, the poor dear won’t understand any of the long words but she can sit and smile politely”.
Bring along the little lady, the poor dear won’t understand any of the long words but she can sit and smile politely 😂
— Dr Zoe Davies (@DrSelfy) March 29, 2018
Former Great British Bake-Off contestant Andrew Smyth also expressed his disappointment with the department’s choice of words.
Eugh, poor show @OxfordMaterials
— Andrew Smyth (@cakesmyth) March 29, 2018
A spokesperson for the University of Oxford has stated that it was “looking into the matter but it absolutely committed to gender equality, including the advancement of women in society”.