'They should be cleverer' - Otago Polytechnic under fire for using strip club imagery to get women into trades

Source: 1News

Otago Polytechnic's latest campaign to get women into trades has come under scrutiny, with experts saying it's ‘provocative’ and ‘inappropriate’.

The advertisement, plastered on the back of a Richie’s bus in Dunedin, uses neon pink strip club imagery.

Victoria University Sociologist, Dr Carol Harrinton, told 1 NEWS it’s demoralising for young women who may be genuinely interested in working in that sector.

“The ad doesn’t give any reassurance you won't just be thought of as the girl that’s sexy or cute because they want to be a builder... it's not taking young women seriously,” she said.

Males make up 90 per cent of the industry.

In a statement, the Polytechnic said it was trying to address the gender imbalance with a tongue-in-cheek ad, and while it understood it could be polarising, they also felt it could be effective.

The Polytechnic said the marketing team behind the campaign were all female. 

Marketing expert, Jill Brinsdon, doesn’t believe the advertisement is offensive, but does think it is lazy.

“They should be cleverer... there are many other ways to get the attention of young women into construction, without referencing the iconography of strip clubs,” she said.

While the Polytech said it regrets any offense caused, it’s wider campaign has attracted nearly 60 applications from women so far.