PM's department pulls 'explicit' Women's Network logo after backlash

·4-min read

People were stunned by the appearance of a new logo for the Women's Network, an office set up by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PMC) to drive gender equality.

The logo attracted quite a bit of attention on several social media platforms for its design, with many people suggesting it looked phallic. Others suggested it looked like a tampon, a condom or breasts.

People on social media believe the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Women's Network logo looks phallic. Source: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
People on social media believe the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Women's Network logo looks phallic. Source: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The Women's Network is one of the the department's Employee Diversity Networks and to be fair, the other networks have similar logo designs.

According to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Women's Network is a volunteer-based organisation that "champions equal opportunity on behalf of its members".

"The Women’s Network assists PM&C in enabling cultural change aspirations expressed in the Department’s 100–1000 day plan for transformational change by helping implement PM&C’s Gender Equality Action Plan and Embracing Inclusion and Diversity Program."

The Employee diversity networks all have a similar design. Source: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
The Employee diversity networks all have a similar design. Source: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

People online were unsure if the logo was genuine or was some kind of satirical meme.

"Scott's own government department, the Women's Network, has a logo that is...a little phallic," Women for Australia (W4A) said on Twitter.

Many on social media suggested the somewhat explicit design was no accident.

"Well you can see what it is and there is no way it was accidental," Marque Lawyers said on Twitter.

Another person on Twitter said the logo looked "familiar" and said it was hard to believe we weren't "living through a parody version of reality".

The National Older Women's Network Australia said the design was "poor messaging".

"I thought this was satire, but it is either thoughtless or an insult," the network said on Twitter.

"Public money was spent getting a graphic artist, choosing the designing, selecting colours, approving, printing and publishing this logo for the Prime Minister's and Cabinet's Women's Network. Poor messaging."

One person on Twitter said they had written to the PMC to ask whether the logo is meant to be a penis, breasts, a tampon, adding none are "appropriate for the Women's Network".

A few people on various social media channels were concerned with how much the logo design would have cost.

Women’s Network Australia calls for PMC to remove 'unfortunate' logo

Following the noise about the PMC's logo on social media, Women’s Network Australia (WNA) called for the The Women’s Network's logo to be removed.

The WNA is not affiliated with the the PMC and is one of the longest-running membership-based groups for women, having been around for over 30 years.

"The WNA logo is trade marked and there should be no confusion with this government logo," WNA said in a statement to Yahoo News Australia.

"There is no connection between our organisation and the PM&C network."

Cheryl Gray, the CEO of the WNA said it was encouraging the the Prime Minister's Department considered equal opportunity as an issue.

However, she agrees the choice of logo and name was "unfortunate" and should be removed.

Logo pulled after backlash

In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, PM&C said "the logo has been removed from the department’s website, pending consultation with staff".

"In 2019, staff at the Department (PM&C) rebranded the staff diversity networks, which includes the Women’s Network, to establish a consistent look and feel.

"The Women’s Network logo retained a 'W' icon which staff had been using for a number of years.

"The rebrand was completed internally, using existing resources, and designs were consulted on widely. No external providers were engaged for this work."

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