Boris comments prompt Twitter backlash

London mayor Boris Johnson has provoked a storm of criticism on Twitter after joking that women in Malaysia need to go to university to find a husband.

Mr Johnson made the remark on July 3 at the launch of the World Islamic Economic Forum, which will be held in London later this year. 

The Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, was asked how his country could persuade his “less tolerant Muslim neighbours” of the importance of women at the top of business and society.

He responded by noting that in the latest intake of university students in Malaysia, 68 per cent would be women.

Mr Johnson interrupted, joking that the women “have got to find men to marry”.

The comment was greeted with laughter, but reporting of the comments on the website Snipe has led to many people taking to the microblogging site Twitter to accuse Mr Johnson of sexism.

A number of the responses have interpreted Mr Johnson as implying that all women who go to university do so to find a husband.

They have also referred to past claims that Mr Johnson was disrespectful towards female members of the London Assembly.

paul.jump@tsleducation.com

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Man measuring bar graphs with tape measure

An Elsevier analysis explores the viability of a ‘smarter and cheaper’ model

  • David Willetts

The former universities minister discusses the reforms that reshaped higher education and his first steps into academia

  • Man holding a box filled with work-related items

Refusal by John Allen to obey instruction from manager at Queen Mary University of London led to his sacking, tribunal rules

  • A black and white crowd scene with a few people highlighted

What are the key issues local union branches are dealing with, and how do they manage relationships with institutions in what many activists argue is an increasingly confrontational environment?

  • Muslim woman at graduation ceremony, Barbican, London

Sector called on to embrace faith-related concerns in intellectual debates