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Via Twitter / The London Dungeon

The worst posts we’ve been subjected to this International Women’s Day

Share as many Maya Angelou poems as you like – you still have to address that gender pay gap

Every year, when International Women’s Day rolls around, there’s always one thing we can count on: not a closing of the gender pay gap, or improvements to women’s safety, or a levelling out of healthcare inequalities, but a desperate contest between late capitalist organisations to create the absolute worst PR stunts they can dream up.

With brands cashing in on historic inequality to sell cut-price clothing, and multinational companies patting themselves on the back for doing the very least, International Women’s Day 2022 is no different. Of course, many of the perpetrators are the usual suspects, from fast fashion brands that hop on IWD as just another holiday to monetise, to institutions such as the Met police, which reliably fail to read the room year after year.

Adding some entertainment to the proceedings in 2022, though, is Twitter’s Gender Pay Gap Bot, an automated account that warns: “Employers, if you tweet about International Women's Day, I’ll retweet your gender pay gap.” 

Since it was founded last year, the account has called out universities, local councils, and businesses trying to cash in on IWD, pulling data from the government’s gender pay gap service. Many of the tweets it’s highlighted have since been deleted, and some institutions have even locked their accounts – coincidence? I think not – while onlookers roll their eyes at the grim reality of corporate solidarity.

Below, we’ve gathered some of the worst examples of performative feminism in recent memory. Happy International Women’s Day!


Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, and Missguided – AKA the holy trinity of girlbossery and sketchy labour practices – entered International Women’s Day with a slew of sales and inspirational Instagram posts. In a glossy Instagram video, Boohoo tells women that it wants them to “know their worth, invest in themselves, and keep lifting each other up”, while glossing over the fact that the unethical conditions in its supply chain remain a “work in progress” (this u?). 

Missguided, meanwhile, says it will “pay it forward” by offering its customers a chance to win £5,000 for themselves and a friend to spend. Maybe they could “pay it forward” by addressing the 46 per cent pay gap in favour of men, reported in 2019, instead? Just a thought. 

In case you were wondering, Boohoo reported a much smaller gender pay gap in 2020/21, but PrettyLittleThing, its subsidiary, reported that women’s median hourly pay was 30 per cent lower than men’s. Of course, it can still give clothes away for free and rustle up £600,000 to partner with Molly-Mae Hague.


The Met police have been out and about for International Women’s Day this year, talking to women and girls in London’s King Edward VII Park about how they can feel safer on the city’s streets. This would be encouraging if survivors of abuse – 77 per cent of whom identify as female – hadn’t called out the very same police force last month, for failing to make them feel safe, and been perpetuating the culture that allows gendered violence to continue unchecked.

The outgoing police chief Cressida Dick also shared a statement about IWD earlier today, gushing about the Met’s “thousands and thousands of women in all kinds of roles, at every rank… who are thriving”. Again, this completely contradicts the reality of the force, with a damning report from the Independent Office for Police Conduct uncovering a culture of blatant misogyny and rape threats shared among officers earlier this year.

In a Guardian interview to mark International Women’s Day earlier this week, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s national lead for violence against women and girls, Maggie Blyth, also highlighted the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer as a “watershed moment” and criticised the dismissal of violent officers as a “few bad apples”.


“Today is the day murderous females get the recognition they so rightfully deserve,” apparently, so for one day only the London Dungeon has renamed Jack the Ripper, Jackie the Ripper. Where to even start with this one? If it wasn’t bad enough that the tourist attraction is simply changing a man’s name to commemorate IWD, they’re also rebranding a murderer famed for his violence against women. 

Naturally, this is not a topic that’s aged well (see above). Thankfully, the internet is in agreement that this is a particularly deranged take. The ratio of likes to quote tweets on iVisit London’s Twitter post says it all.


Airline TikTok is a thing, for some reason, which means that cringy airline International Women’s Day videos are also a thing. On Delta Airlines’ page, this means a female pilot, cabin crew member, and engineer strutting through a hangar to a remix of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone”. Admittedly, Delta has the 100 per cent pay parity to back the video up (though only around five per cent of its pilots were women as of 2020, and these pilots were hardest hit by COVID measures).

The same can’t be said of Ryanair, everyone’s fave low cost flight operator on TikTok (seriously, what’s going on?). While Ryanair posted a similar “squad goals” video, it actually logged a staggering gender pay gap of 68.6 per cent in 2020, as pointed out by the Gender Pay Gap Bot.


The UK Conservative party boasting about its track record of “empowering women” seems like a bad idea, given that the current deputy prime minister has called feminists “obnoxious bigots”, its MPs recently blocked plans to make misogyny a hate crime, and some of them also believe that recasting fictional characters as women is turning men into violent criminals (as opposed to, say, the party’s brutal spending cuts).

Nevertheless, the Tory party celebrated International Women’s Day 2022 with a rundown of its historic achievements, including the two female prime ministers that have taken office (AKA Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May – not exactly glowing role models). The party also saw a record 87 women elected as MPs in 2019, but electing bullies like Priti Patel who’ll reiterate its right-wing policies doesn’t really count, does it? The party also had the lowest percentage of women MPs as of the 2019 election, which doesn’t sound like an impressive “record of empowering women to fulfil their potential” anyway, tbh.


Ok, so this actually happened last year, but it sticks with this year’s theme – #BreakTheBias – and, with everything that’s going on, you might have forgotten to mark the anniversary of one of the most deranged marketing efforts in recent memory. 

Basically, in 2021, Burger King decided that the best way to mark International Women’s Day would be to tweet: “Women belong in the kitchen.” Of course, the fast food giant did follow up with several other tweets, saying, “If they want to, of course”, and announcing a scholarship scheme that aimed to rebalance the gender ratio in the restaurant industry. Can’t help but feel that they could have communicated the same message without a joke that got old in the 1950s, though.

After deciding to delete the original tweet, Burger King published the usual social media apology: “We hear you. We got our initial tweet wrong and we’re sorry.” A year later, though, Twitter still hasn’t forgotten the company that set the bar for offensive IWD posts.