LIKE millions of people, Kezia Dugdale decided to go online in search of present ideas for Christmas.
But the Lothians Labour MSP was not impressed with some of the gift suggestions she found in the books section of Amazon’s website.
They included separate “For Him” and “For Her” lists with animal calendars, baking books and celebrity biographies for women and business books, political biographies and sports calendars for men.
Furious, she fired off a written complaint to Amazon UK’s chief executive and later posted a blog about the “offensive” lists. Now they have been taken down.
“It shows when you challenge things like this it can make a difference,” said Ms Dugdale after the change of heart by Amazon bosses, who are set to rake in millions in internet sales over the festive period.
She said: “I was doing some Christmas shopping online and I came across the book page on the Amazon UK website and was appalled to see they were promoting His and Hers gifts.
“The male section was all about science fiction, political biographies and business books, and the female gifts were animal calendars, romance books and craft books.
“I was offended by this kind of gender stereotyping. Listing gifts in this way perpetuates the myth that there are some types of books which are exclusively for women and some for men.
“If thousands of people are looking at this website and Amazon are reinforcing stereotypes that are holding women back in society, that needs to be challenged.
“Often these things are accidental and people don’t see that it’s sexist until they really stop and look.
“It’s that type of everyday sexism we need to challenge to achieve gender equality.”
Ms Dugdale’s friend, Labour activist Kirsty Connell, who used to live in Edinburgh and is now based in London, also took up the cause.
She sent a Twitter message highlighting the page: “Thanks @AmazonUK for letting me know business, politics and sci-fi aren’t for my pretty little head #everydaysexism.”
Her message was retweeted 1000 times in less than 24 hours.
Amazon was unavailable for comment.
The retailer reportedly delivered revenues of £3.3 billion in the UK last year but paid no corporation tax on its profits. In Europe, Amazon is based in Luxembourg for tax purposes.
Sales force to reckon with
ANALYSTS expect Amazon’s sales over Christmas to outstrip those for the last year, when the company’s UK packing plants shipped more than 2.1 million items in 24 hours.
• On its busiest shopping day last Christmas, customers ordered a total of three million items in 24 hours at a rate of 35 items every second.
• Amazon has hired more than 10,000 temporary staff at its UK packing centres to help cope with the massive Christmas surge.
• A year ago, Amazon opened its largest European distribution depot near Dunfermline, covering a site of one million square feet.