Oxford University apologises over picture of cleaner scrubbing out 'Happy International Women's Day' graffiti... on International Women's Day 2018

Robin De Peyer
The incident happened at Oxford University's Clarendon building

Oxford University has apologised after a picture emerged of a female cleaner scrubbing out 'Happy International Women's Day' graffiti that had been daubed onto a flight of steps.

Oxford academic Professor Sophie Smith tweeted the photo of the incident at the university’s Clarendon building, sparking an angry backlash on International Women's Day 2018.

Professor Smith claimed the woman was told to clean up the graffiti by security.

It comes as people around the world mark International Women’s Day, celebrating the achievements of women in societies across the globe.

The image was branded “shameful” by social media users, with one adding: “having a woman scrub off chalk that says Happy International Woman's Day while some blokes stand around in the background isn't a good look.”

Twitter user Jessie Raymond added: “A picture's worth a thousand words.”

Oxford University apologised for the incident, saying in a statement: “We are deeply sorry for this and for offence caused. International Women's Day is hugely important to Oxford. This should not have happened.”

Responding to the apology, Professor Smith added: “I appreciate your apology, but far more importantly can you please make sure that the woman asked to remove the message receives a heartfelt apology, a warm cup of tea, the rest of the day off and, along with all our precarious staff, good enough pay to live in this city.”

The Clarendon Building dates back to the early 18th Century and is next to Oxford University's iconic Bodleian Library.

International Women's Day has been observed since the early 1900s. This year, it is being marked by protests around the world as women demand change to achieve greater equality.