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We have a problem with – female political journalists

They are too few and far between and as we saw this week, they are being protected by bodyguards for their own safety.

I am of course referring to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg who has been given her own bodyguards at the Labour Conference in Brighton. This comes after the journalist received death threats over a perceived bias in her reporting about Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party.

Far from sympathising with Laura however, people have taken to social media to condemn her for protecting herself, damning her a 'snowflake' and 'pathetic'. One tweet read, 'not exactly Kate Adie in a war zone'.

Labour's Diane Abbot felt moved to wade into the fray in support of Laura. The MP, who received far more than her fair share of sexist and racist remarks during this year's election campaign, said 'just don't do it' when it came to criticising Laura.

It is quite clearly sexism we are dealing with here – more specifically, sexism in the media. There is no question that a male political reporter would ever receive such heavy criticism for simply doing his job – as that is all Laura has been doing, reporting the news as she feels fit.

If people do not agree with what she says then they should just ignore it or seek an alternative opinion elsewhere. They do not have to take to social media to declare Laura 'should be hung'.

There are so few female journalists given the opportunity to report on the heavier, more 'serious' subjects in the news. Laura is in fact the first woman to be the BBC's political editor, though that is not surprising.

Recent research by lobbying group, Women in Journalism, found women accounted for just 25 per cent of front page bylines across a spectrum of newspapers from June to July this year.

They state the key problem is British newspapers are filtered through the gaze of old white men and as a result you do not get to hear what women think and what they are interested in. Women are too often the victims in stories, the arm candy of the rich and famous or shamed in newspaper sidebars.

Here we have one of the few women in political journalism given a voice and look how she is treated. Her opinions are belittled and criticised - I have no doubt simply because she is a woman and her views are not deemed to hold as much weight as a man's - and when she is forced to seek protection because her life is threatened, she is mocked for doing so.


Shame on you all.

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