THE BLOG

Offspring Should Be Off Limits

We should be asking about how our politicians do their jobs during the day and not who they share their house with at night.

24/01/2017 9:43 AM AEDT | Updated 24/01/2017 9:44 AM AEDT
Getty Images
Yesterday Gladys Berejiklian was made the Premier of NSW uncontested, having served as a senior minister for six years. 

Regardless of your political leanings, anytime a woman gets a top job it's cause for celebration in my book. On Monday Gladys Berejiklian was made the Premier of NSW uncontested, having served as a senior minister for six years.

It wasn't a hostile takeover or a leadership spill. It was a political succession the way they used to be done, with dignity and without bloodshed. Berejiklian isn't a newcomer to NSW politics -- she's been working hard for over a decade for the people of NSW. She wasn't an unknown quantity to the media who gathered for her press conference announcing her confirmation as NSW Premier yesterday.

Yet within the hour she was asked about her marital status and the fact she doesn't have children.

If anyone wondered why millions of women around the globe marched on the weekend at women's marches, that question is your answer. Women are still treated very differently to men in our society and that needs to change.

As a woman who rises to the top of her profession, you'll be criticised whether you have children or not. It's a lose-lose situation. If you are a mother and your career is flourishing, the implication is that your children suffer. If you don't have children you're somehow unqualified to comment on issues relevant to women and families. This in a country where the former PM appointed himself the Minister for Women.

There are a host of reasons why people marry or don't and why they have children or don't. Everyone's story is different and everyone's story is personal. The single man or the childless man is rarely grilled in public, he's never treated as if he's less-than because he's single and his single status isn't announced as if it's a character flaw.

When you're a woman, every aspect of your personal life is treated as if it is fair game. For me, the questions don't stop at if I have children (I have one). It's how my daughter copes with her mums working full time. It's whether we'll have another child and when.

Either way, why is it any of your business?

In Premier Berejiklian's case, what we should be focusing on is if she can make the trains run on time, open hospital beds, keep our schools running efficiently and get the light rail finished so that we can all move through the city with ease, not her marital or family status.

Wouldn't it be great if 2017 became the year when your sexuality, marital status or family status was off limits to journalists? I'd love this to be the year where our journalists started to focus on how well our politicians did their job during the day and not who they share their house with at night.

More On This Topic