Driving instructors

Melbourne driving school for Chinese speakers apologizes for calling instructors ‘shy and weak’

A Melbourne driving school for Chinese speakers has apologized after sexist marketing on its website disparaging female instructors sparked a backlash in the local Chinese community.

“Driving school instructors are shy [and] weak,” the No. 1 driving school in Chinese wrote on its website.

“They tend to spend most of their class time on back roads, can’t do intensive training, and their students often improve very slowly.”

The school also boasted of having “zero female instructors” and “only highly experienced male instructors” for the sake of teaching quality.

The website has since been updated to remove sexist claims.

He now indicates that the driving school is recruiting two instructors.

Mel Wang saw the website in late July while browsing the internet for a driving instructor and was so angry that she took a screenshot and posted it on the Chinese social media platform Xiaohongshu.

The driving school’s website said the female driving instructors were “shy” and “weak”.(Provided)

“I don’t know what to say,” Ms. Wang wrote with the message.

“We live in 2022, don’t we? »

The school later apologized, but Ms Wang told the ABC she was not convinced the company was truly sorry.

“They took it [the copy] because so many people were reposting and looking to report them to the authorities,” she said.

“I don’t think their apologies were sincere.”

She pointed out that after issuing its apology, the company continued to threaten legal action against people who criticized them on the Chinese social media platform that has been described as China’s answer to Instagram.

“You won’t find any excuses on their website, and many people who choose to learn with them are unaware of what happened,” Ms. Wang said.

“Very badly worded”

A spokesman for the driving school, Andrew Wang, said the company has no intention of putting down female instructors in general.

He said the comments followed an advert for a female driving instructor – who previously worked for Number 1 Driving School – who claimed women were better driving teachers than men.

Mr Wang said the sexist copy on his company’s website was “very inappropriately worded”.

“We issued an apology on Xiaohongshu, and we respect the equal rights of women in the workplace,” he said.

When asked why the company kept threatening people with legal action, Wang said a worker was threatening when he shouldn’t have.

“It was just his personal claim,” he said.

“The school immediately deleted the messages when we found out.

“He has been demoted and no longer speaks for the school.”

What to do with sexist ads

A policewoman talks to a man through her car window.  Police cars are visible in the background.
Fewer female drivers are involved in fatal road accidents than male drivers. (PA: David Crosling)

Diversity Council Australia chief executive Lisa Annese told the ABC that complaints about discriminatory adverts could be sent to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

“It is extremely important that behavior like this, whether in advertisements or anywhere in the workplace or beyond, is called out,” Ms Annese said in a statement.

“Our recent She’s Price(d)less research shows that gender discrimination, including examples like this and the use of stereotypes such as ‘shy’ and ‘weak’, are key drivers of the pay gap between the sexes.”

Ms Annese said allegations that the company had failed to hire female drivers for such ‘shocking’ and ‘unacceptable’ reasons indicated it may be engaging in illegal and discriminatory practices.

Ms. Wang said she and others had reported the ad to the police and the Human Rights Commission, but did not expect any consequences.

Lauren Gurrieri, a senior lecturer in marketing at RMIT University who specializes in gender and advertising, said people are well within their rights to continue to hold the company accountable.

“Today more than ever, consumers expect more from companies and brands to be socially responsible,” she said.

She suggested people try to have “productive conversations” with the school and ask good questions about what the company was going to do from here.

“These are legitimate things that consumers or consumer groups are asking companies to do,” Dr. Gurrieri said.

While women are sometimes stereotyped in Australia and elsewhere as bad drivers, there is no statistical evidence to show this to be true.