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Materials department slammed for ‘sexist’ invite

The Oxford Department of Materials has been accused of sexism after sending an invitation which garnered criticism on Twitter.

In an invitation to the department’s alumni dinner – the first of its kind since 2013 – the Department wrote that “partners and wives are very welcome.”

Department of Materials alumna Anna Ploszajski received the invitation and took to Twitter, using the popular hashtag #everydaysexism.

Her caption read: “In which universe is it acceptable to say ‘partners and wives are very welcome’ on an invitation?”

Ploszasjki’s tweet prompted many other users to weigh in. Dr. Zoe Davies, materials scientist and biomechanist wrote: “Bring along the little lady, the poor dear won’t understand any of the long words but she can sit and smile politely.”

Sally Le Page, a YouTuber and biologist who read Biology at Oxford and is currently working on a DPhil, pointed out that Ploszajski’s invitation was addressed to “Alumnus, which is masculine singular.”


A spokesperson for Oxford University said: “We are looking into the matter but it is absolutely committed to gender equality, including the advancement of women in science.”

Ploszascki is an award-winning materials scientist, stand-up comedian, and science communicator. She has given a TED Talk and regularly performs eye-catching demonstrations of materials science.

The Department of Materials later apologised “unreservedly” on Twitter.

“An outdated unacceptable invitation template was used in error,” it said. “We are committed to gender equality and will do better.”

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