TfL's Sexist 'Thought Of The Day' Was Such A Bad Idea

Image: Maria Molinero.

Whiteboard signs at Tube stations are a frequent talking point on social media, whether that's because they've made Londoners laugh, feel inspired, or like an idiot because they've been fooled by a bogus one.

But they also have the propensity to antagonise people, and Transport for London is currently in hot water over a sign marking yesterday's 100-year anniversary of some women gaining the right to vote in the UK.

On Wednesday morning, Twitter user Evelyn Clegg (@Evie_tweeting) posted a photo of the 'Thought Of The Day' at Colliers Wood station in southwest London, which made a comment about suffragette Emily Davison failing to make her husband's evening meal.

“100 years ago, suffragette Emily Davison died after throwing herself in front of the king’s horse," the sign incorrectly said (she actually died in 1913). "History remembers her as being influential in giving women the right to vote. What history doesn’t remember is her husband, who didn’t get his tea that night!”

But Clegg was far from convinced of its comic merit. "Is this supposed to be funny, @tfl? Well this humourless feminist is genuinely appalled," she tweeted. "Incredibly short-sighted & a waste of an opportunity for celebration. #Suffragette100 #everydaysexism #collierswoodstation."

She also tweeted Mayor of London Sadiq Khan directly, blasting the sign for being "inappropriate & disrespectful". Khan has yet to respond to the tweet.

One male tweeter believed Clegg hadn't understood the joke, claiming it was funny "because referencing the irony of fighting parliament for the right to vote whilst (in this case fictional) misogyny reigns at home causes a logical disconnect, which is solved by laughter".

But many more people, particularly women, also failed to see the funny side, deeming it "embarrassing and not remotely funny", "appalling" and as evidence that feminism still has a long way to go.

TfL responded to Clegg's tweet this afternoon, apologising for the message and claiming it was "taken down immediately" after her tweet came to light. "This issue is now being investigated," it added.

Clegg said she was pleased with the response but that it "should never have been put up in the first place". "It looks like they need to provide better training for their staff members in diversity and equality," she told the Evening Standard.

"I'm sure I'll be accused of 'not being able to take a joke', but humour based on the death of a woman who was fighting for basic equality is completely inappropriate. Yesterday was a day for celebration of these brave women, and this sign is so disappointing in its recycling of lazy sexist jokes."

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