Commuter slams 'sexist' NHS ad asking women if they would 'give up lipstick and heels' to have children

Kirstie Jones, 29, was appalled when she spotted the ad – for emergency contraception – on the bus home from Birmingham.

The poster has the slogan "Would you give up this?" over a shoe with skyscraper heel and a red lipstick, followed by "For this?" next to a baby's dummy.

It was meant to advertise the services available at an NHS sexual health clinic in Walsall.

The small print advises patients they can get free emergency contraception up to five days after unprotected sex.

Kirstie, a social media manager from Stourbridge, Worcs, said: “I was gobsmacked when I saw the ad.

"I had to look at it again to make sure I’d read it correctly.

“It suggests that if you accidentally become pregnant you have to leave the lipsticks and heels behind.

“It’s sexist because it doesn’t understand women – it implies you have to give up those things to have a child.

“My sister has a small child so I’m fully aware of the sacrifices that mums do make when they have a baby.

“It doesn’t matter what you look like, what lipstick or shoes you wear when you have a baby. It’s irresponsible.”

She added: "It’s an outdated point of view, and it goes against the important message it’s trying to send out – awareness of the free service.

“I think that’s why I was so shocked. It’s the wrong way to talk to the audience it was trying to reach.”

Nicola Wenlock of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust said: “In creating this particular advertising campaign, Walsall Integrated Sexual Health worked hard to understand the teenage pregnancy audience to make sure that the communication was relevant, effective and focused.

“We apologise if this particular advertisement has raised a concern.

"The intent was to raise awareness of emergency contraception and advice available for those in this age group who wish to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

“The campaign has played an important role in tackling teenage pregnancy and poor sexual health in our local area which has been reducing steadily year on year.

“We will continue to work closely with all audiences to ensure we offer the best possible services for them and will continue to review all materials closely for future campaigns.”

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