Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

A Bake Off style icon and a feline emblem of women's emancipation

The world of British politics has been dominated by the wave of sexual allegations pouring out of Westminster this week. So much so, there has been hardly any talk of Brexit. Perhaps we have left. Has anyone noticed a lack of hummus on the shelves of Tesco? But I, rather unfeelingly, digress.
MPs across all political parties have received accusations of a sexual nature against them, ranging from inappropriate comments and misplaced hands to sexual assault and rape. Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to unite with all other party leaders next week to discuss what must be done to clamp down on this behaviour and deal with the current allegations appropriately.
Of course there have been numerous critics - those who believe we are in some way being unfair to male MPs by bringing these sexual transgressions to the fore. That a man will never be able to chat a woman up in a bar again if we persist in allowing yet another male-dominated area of society to be exposed as misogynistic and …

Older women are missing the point when they say millennials need to 'toughen up' in the face of sexual abuse

It takes a certain type of woman to come out during what can only be seen as a revolutionary time for women's rights and complain. But that is exactly what a number of older, prominent female figures have done since the sex scandal broke at Westminster and it leaves me puzzling, in the most colloquial of terms, 'whose side are they actually on'?
The pervasive idea amongst the women I refer to is that what is going on in the House of Commons as we speak is nothing but a moral panic led by the millennials. They claim that it all comes down to the younger women, who make up much of the MP's staff, not being tough enough to fend off the comments and misplaced hands of their bosses.
They further claim this is some kind of 'millennial revenge' by younger women who carry around with them a sense of disgust towards anyone over 40. Furthermore, they say, women of their generation had a far more robust attitude to men behaving badly, compared to the 'fragile' …

MP's vote on Brexit is a 'con', Johnson's apology a sop, but Theresa May's condemnation of Russia was a triumph

It has been called a 'staggering climbdown' by some but the truth of the matter is, the Government's 11th hour decision to allow Parliament a vote on the Brexit deal is just another example of Tory trickery.
David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, announced yesterday (Monday) that the final Brexit Withdrawal Bill would be presented to the House of Commons as an Act of Parliament which could be voted on in good time before we leave the European Union.
This was initially seen as a major victory on the part of Labour MPs and Tory rebels who have been calling for several months for Parliament to have their say on the Brexit deal. Davis had previously said there would not be an opportunity for MPs to vote as they anticipated work on the deal would be going on until the last minute before exiting.
But alas the devil is always in the detail and it quickly emerged that whilst MPs will be able to vote on the deal, they will not be able to have any say in the case of a no deal Brexit – …