A company famous for its pens marked a public holiday honoring women in South Africa with a Facebook post urging: "Think like a man."

Amid a storm of protest that the ad was sexist, Bic South Africa retracted the post and issued an apology.

"Look like a girl, Act like a lady, Think like a man, Work like a boss"

- controversial post

The company had posted the message with a photo of a smiling female model on its Facebook page on Sunday, the anniversary of a 1956 march led by women who were protesting the country's white minority rule at the time.

"Look like a girl, Act like a lady, Think like a man, Work like a boss," the post said.

In a message on Facebook, Bic South Africa on Tuesday apologized for "offending everybody" and said it understood it had made a mistake.

The company earlier posted and then removed another apology in which it said the women's day message was meant to be empowering, South African media reported.

"This post should never have gone out," the company said Tuesday. "The feedback you have given us will help us ensure that something like this will never happen again, and we appreciate that."