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Melbourne-based Number 1 Driver School has apologised for calling its female instructors “timid and weak” in marketing copy on its website. Photo: Shutterstock

Australian driving school for Chinese speakers apologises for calling female trainers ‘timid and weak’

  • Number 1 Driver School’s advert says its female instructors ‘can’t perform intensive training and their students often improve only very slowly’
  • Melbourne-based institute expresses regret over incident but residents say they are unconvinced by the apology and have reported company for discrimination
A driving school catering to Chinese speakers in Australia’s second-largest city has apologised for describing female trainers as “timid and weak” after its misogynist marketing material came under fire from the local diaspora community.

Melbourne-based Number 1 Driver School was also panned for boasting about its all-male staff online.

“Female driving instructors are timid [and] weak,” the company said on its website.

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

The driving institute later removed the offending wording whose screenshot was first posted to Chinese social media platform Xiaohongshu by resident Mel Wang in July.

Wang said she was so angry with the language she did not know what to say. “We’re living in the year 2022, aren’t we?” she wrote.

The company also tendered an apology on Xiaohongshu, China’s Instagram-like service, adding it would hire two female driving instructors “at the request of the general public”.

But Wang told public broadcaster ABC the company expressing regret over the incident was not good enough.

“They took it [the copy] off because so many people were reposting and seeking to report them to authorities,” she said. “I don’t think their apology was sincere.”

Wang said the driving school also threatened legal action against people who criticised it on Xiaohongshu.

A company spokesperson admitted the sexist advertisement on its website was “very inappropriately worded”.

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The representative added the threats were made by a staff member who had been demoted.

“That was only his personal claim,” the spokesperson told ABC. “The school deleted the posts immediately when we found out.”

Wang and other locals have reported the company to police and the Australian Human Rights Commission for discrimination.

“It is critically important that behaviour like this, be it in advertisements or anywhere in the workplace or beyond, is called out,” Diversity Council Australia chief executive Lisa Annese said in a statement.