"Sadly, too many retailers present it as a consumerist event to be trivialised through sales and discounts rather than attention to the serious issue of gender equality"
(Corrects phrasing in paragraph 10 about percentage of women board directors)
By Beh Lih Yi
JAKARTA, March 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A popular Singapore retailer came under fire on Thursday for "trivialising" International Women's Day by cooking up a promotion offering cut-price frying pans.
Upscale department store chain TANGS marked the day, which falls on March 8 and is observed across the globe by women pushing for greater equality, by discounting a range of items, including two frying pans.
Other deals included beauty products, high heels and shavers.
The retailer sent out a promotional email to customers with the S$38 ($27) frying pan offers listed at the top, according to Marketing magazine. The deals were still listed on TANGS website on Thursday.
Campaigner Jolene Tan said the promotion appeared to overlook the struggle of women in the city-state, who are pushing for better representation in company boardrooms and battling laws which critics say allow marital rape.
"International Women's Day is a day to honour the struggles of women for equality, safety and respect," said Tan, head of advocacy and research at Singapore's Association of Women for Action and Research.
"Sadly, too many retailers present it as a consumerist event to be trivialised through sales and discounts rather than attention to the serious issue of gender equality."
An executive at the corporate communications department said she could not comment.
Singapore is ranked 55 out of 144 countries in the Global Gender Gap 2016, an annual report by the World Economic Forum which measures how women fare in areas such as economic and political participation, health and education.
Only 8 percent of board directors in Singapore are women and they are paid 43 percent less than their male counterparts, according to Tan citing previous research.
TANGS is most recognisable for its flagship store at the swanky shopping district of Orchard in downtown Singapore. It also has outlets in neighbouring Malaysia.
($1 = 1.4198 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Beh Lih Yi @behlihyi, Editing by XXX; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)
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