Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan may or may not be pondering a run for the governor’s seat. But a September 5 Chicago Sun-Times story by Dave Mckinney, Fran Spielman and Natasha Korecki asked Madigan “whether she could serve as governor and still raise her kids.”
It’s a deeply sexist question, one that is only posed to female politicians and candidates, a fact that Madigan pointed out in her response.
“’Wow. Does anybody ever ask that question?’ she said. ‘I’m very lucky to have the support of my family. My husband helps take care of our kids. But, I think more people should ask that of men running for office as well.’”
Although the reporters had asked a sexist question, and been called on it, they continued to stress how hard it was to be a mother and a politician, despite the fact that plenty of male politicians seem to manage just fine.
The story notes they: “Pressed further on whether she could simultaneously hold both jobs — governor and mom” and “Reminded [her] that being governor is a lot more demanding than attorney general.”
The Sun-Times story was so obviously sexist that even the Washington Post felt the need to call out such bad journalistic behavior.
We have asked the Chicago Sun-Times whether they believe they questions posed by McKinney, Spielman, and Korecki were appropriate and they have not responded to numerous emails and phone calls. Sexist media coverage cannot be changed if the paper won’t even acknowledge that its coverage is sexist.
We ask the Chicago Sun-Times to affirm that sexism has no place in their political coverage. The Sun-Times should apologize to Lisa Madigan for their sexist story and acknowledge that reporters should not treat woman candidates and politicians differently in their coverage due to their sex.
Only by calling out sexism in the media can we change the political landscape for all women.
The September 5 story titled “Lisa Madigan refuses to tip hand on governor’s race,” by reporters Dave Mckinney, Fran Spielman, and Natasha Korecki, was deeply sexist. The reporters clearly asked Madigan multiple times whether she could be a parent and governor.
The media nearly always places the responsibility of child-rearing on the mother, while the father is not only allowed, but expected to pursue and maintain a career.
Women candidates and politicians are routinely questioned about their capacity to balance work with family, but you’d be hard pressed to find even one man that has been subjected to a similar inquiry by reporters.
This line of questioning was deeply sexist and perhaps why women represent only 17% of Congress and 12% of Governors. Media sexism holds women back in the political sphere.
The Chicago Sun-Times should publicly acknowledge that sexism has no place in their political coverage as well as apologize to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan for their story.