Last week Samantha Perry sent an open letter to Samsung, stating her feelings with regards to the use of scantily clad women in the launch of the company’s new fridge and washing machine lines, last week at Africa Forum in Cape Town. The original post went viral, receiving media attention and creating international interest. This morning, Samsung South Africa issued a press statement formally apologising for the controversial launch of its consumer products at Africa Forum last week. The statement, by head of corporate marketing and communications, Michelle Potgieter said that:
“It has come to our attention that, following recent Samsung events, there was dissatisfaction by the use of the selected promotional/entertainment ladies to unveil and demonstrate the new line up of product/s. Samsung South Africa are committed to embracing a variety of consumers across our very diverse local market and in no way intended to isolate or offend any one of these audiences through these events.
As a result, we would like to apologise for any offence caused in this regard and assure you that we acknowledge your views and opinions on the matter. To this end, we will endeavour to be more sensitive around these issues going forward and will raise all relevant matters with our Head Quarters and respective regional head offices accordingly. Furthermore, Samsung would like to assure all media and consumers that we in no way intend to favour any particular type of consumer, where each consumer and target audience represents a viable portion of our business and as a result, we will continue to embrace all consumer needs and requirements within the market.”
GirlGuides welcomes this statement and hopes that other companies will learn from Samsung’s example. All across Africa, women are discriminated against in the IT world and massively under-represented in high skilled roles partly as a result of intimidation and fear in the workplace. The issue of women and technology has never been more acutely sensitive than it is now, and we believe that leaders like Samsung have an enormous role to play in helping everyone, regardless of age, gender, race or colour, to benefit from the rapid developmental advances modern technology can bring.