Column: Girl power; not so much
New PM Theresa May
This is all fast moving water under the bridges of Westminster now, but it has been an interesting week in gender politics.
By the time you read this we will have a woman installed and in charge of the country for only the second time in history, which is more than can be said for our special friends across the Atlantic.
But what is more symbolic is that the very fact of Theresa May’s female-ness has been no more than a side conversation.
That is a major sign we are making some progress at least.
But it was one of Theresa’s female counterparts who sparked one debate, alluding – clumsily – that a woman with no children can’t have a stake in the country’s future.
What was frightening was not just that a senior politician believed that – but that another woman believes that.
We clearly still have a long way to go.
As a woman – unmarried and without children myself – I fully understand the pressures and assumptions of society on the issue – and the judgement that comes alongside, spoken and unspoken.
This week noise on social media only made the matter worse- some ‘defending’ Theresa and saying that with no children she will have more time to devote to the country.
Because you would think that about a man, right?
Who cares about her personal situation.
If she is the right person for the job, she should do the job, regardless of her status as parent, her marital state or indeed the kitten heels she does or doesn’t wear.
Probably unknowingly, film star Jennifer Aniston, reiterated the issue this week – sick of being asked if she was pregnant she replied with suitable venom. Good for her – as long as she can act.
I met Theresa May in April and, despite my penchant for clothes, I don’t remember her outfit – just her demeanour and what she said.
How it should be.
But I would never dismiss sartorial matters altogether – if a new PM turned up in a One Direction onesie it would be difficult to take them seriously.
A degree of professionalism is required.
But heels , flats ,babies or a ring?