Unmarried (And Married) Women Could Be Prime Ministers

This Saturday, we will find out if the Australian public thinks that unmarried women should be Prime Ministers. A silly question, you might ask in this day and age. But if you follow the Australian media you will quickly discover that many people think that Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female Prime Minister, who is single with no children, may not be the ideal role model for women, and thus not an ideal leader for a country. Amazing logic!

So I ask two questions. One, has a man ever been thought to be a poor leader because he has no wife or children? Think of all the Catholic priests, the Pope and several past heads of state. And two, if Ms Gillard were married, would we then accuse her of abandoning her wifely and motherly duties for this very difficult job? It sounds like one of the many impossible double-standards that women face all the time.

As I read it, if she is married, she in not good enough to lead and if she is not married, she is not good enough to lead. She can not win. And worse yet, as we women lawyers (with a bit of power) see her personal life attacked, we quickly write a mental note to self: Never seek higher positions like Prime Minister, unless of course your are a martyr, or do not mind such abuse. I beg you people everywhere, and the media in particular, please stop feeding the evil monster: the one who wants to continue to discriminate against women.

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