The Sunday Times Accused Of 'Sexist, Totally Misjudged' Feature On Childless Women Politicians

'Wombs before brains.'

04/09/2016 16:04

The Sunday Times has been criticised by senior political figures for a feature it ran today on ‘childless politicians’ that singled out women. 

The national newspaper attracted scorn from senior MPs, and even some of the women it included in the list, for its piece. 

The 'childless politicians' list that featured six women

The paper had run the feature in its magazine supplement, but only included women - highlighting Prime Minister Theresa May, the German chancellor Angela Merkel, Labour MP Angela Eagle, Scottish Tories leader Ruth Davidson, Justine Greening - the education secretary, and ex-Green leader Natalie Bennett. 

The list accompanied an exclusive serialisation of sections from a new book in which Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed her pain at having mis-carried in 2011.

Sturgeon was widely praised for speaking out about the issue, including by Scottish Labour’s Kezia Dugdale.

But the addition of a column singling out other successful women politicians without children sparked outrage from senior political figures. 

Davidson herself took to Twitter to deride the “totally misjudged, terrible” feature. 

She was joined by Labour MP Stella Creasy, who accused the Sunday Times of putting “wombs before brains”.

The pair ridiculed the idea successful women without children should be singled out.

In a separate post, Creasy responded to the story using the Everyday Sexism hashtag. 

Natalie Bennet, another of the women included in the list, also weighed into the debate by accusing the Sunday Times of “living in the 1950s”. 

She and Davidson both lamented the way Sturgeon’s news about how she dealt with the grief of miscarrying was trailed. 

The Sunday Times sold it as a “tantalising secret about her private life”.

Davidson’s criticism was backed by ex-defence minister Anna Soubry, who said the Scottish Tories leader was “spot on”. 

“I sometimes feel we’re going backwards not forwards,” she added. 

While the Women 50:50 campaign, promoting equal gender representation in the Scottish Parliament, mocked up a picture of “childless politicians” feature prominent male MPs and MSPs. 

The group said it highlighted how women’s lives were unfairly scrutinised in comparison to their male colleagues.

It added in a series of posts: “Maternity discrimination is very real in politics (far fewer childless men) it should be highlighted. But this isn’t the way to do it.

“This way simply reinforces stereotypes and that that these women are somehow different.”

The Huffington Post UK contacted the Sunday Times for comment but received no reply by the time this story went live.


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