The shot shows the female worker using a mop to clear away the chalk message as a group of male security guards stand idly by. It was captured and shared on Twitter on Thursday by Associate Professor Dr. Sophie Smith, who pointed out the irony of the image.
“Oxford security makes a woman cleaner scrub out ‘Happy International Women’s Day’ on the Clarendon steps,” Smith wrote. “What an image for #IWD.”
Oxford apologized for the gaffe later that day in a tweet. “We are deeply sorry for this and for offence caused,” the university wrote. “International Women’s Day is hugely important to Oxford. This should not have happened.”
However, the photo had already begun making the Internet rounds, prompting some to comment on its controversial nature. “Wow. Not a good look,” tweeted one user. “I don’t think management realised what an image that would make. They need to consult their marketing team.”
See some of the reactions below.