Burger King UK has caused controversy online.
Writing on Twitter, they shared the message: “Women belong in the kitchen.”
They later followed this up, 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.”
The tweet has gone viral, garnering over 77,000 likes and more than 20,000 quote tweets.
Many are unimpressed with the choice of tweet, given the significance of the day.
The KFC gaming account replied: “The best time to delete this post was immediately after posting it.
“The second best time is now.”
To which Burger King said: “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.”
Other unimpressed people branded the post “shameful” and “misogynistic”.
One Twitter user wrote: “Shameful Burger King absolutely bang out of order. On Women’s Day no less!”
Another commented: “This belongs in the bin.”
“Misogynistic tweet of the year goes to @BurgerKingUK,” proclaimed a third.
Someone else responded: “I don’t think y’all thought this through.”
A fifth user added: “How to take a great and positive idea and put it out into the world in really tone-deaf way that creates a controversy that only takes away from their message and goal. A whopper of a marketing mistake.”
The official Burger King UK account responded to one of the angry tweets, asking them to explain the “thought process” behind their controversial post.
They said: “Our ‘thought process’ is that women are shockingly underrepresented in our industry, and we thought it was time we did something about it.
“We’ve created a scholarship to give more of our female employees the chance to pursue a culinary career.”
Not everyone was upset about the tweet though, some understood the message that Burger King was trying to get across, with a different person pointing out: “BK should have probably put the following tweet as part of the main one, but they are clearly playing on the trope to make a wider point around how commercial kitchens are often seen as male domains… a stereotype that needs changing.”
A spokesperson for Burger King said: “It was our intention to undermine an outdated stereotype about women and reclaim the terminology, in order to highlight a big problem in the restaurant industry – that women occupy only 20 percent of chef positions in UK restaurants today, which we believe is offensive. The campaign’s aim is to continue the important conversation around gender inequality within the culinary field.
“We have teamed up with culinary schools to create a scholarship programme for our female team members to help them achieve their career aspirations. The newly created culinary scholarship programme will help female team members who are interested in pursuing a qualification in culinary arts and is underlined by our commitment to BRC’s D&I charter, and its six pledges to eliminate unlawful discrimination and encourage equal opportunities for all our colleagues.”