This week at the National Democratic Convention, sexism seeped out of the mouths of three Chicago Sun-Times reporters when asking Attorney General Lisa Madigan about her potential run for governor.
The reporters, Dave McKinney, Fran Spielman, and Natasha Korecki, raised the question of “whether she could serve as governor and still raise her kids the way she wants to,” which continues to be a persistent topic discussed in regard to only female politicians.
Madigan fired back with her own question, asking, “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.”
Unfortunately, reporters still do ask that question of working women too often. The Chicago Sun-Times reporters, however, did not get Madigan’s hint to drop the matter, pressing further on “whether she could simultaneously hold both jobs — governor and mom,” to which she replied, ”I can be the attorney general and do that. There are plenty of women who juggle.”
Madigan was then completely insulted when the reporters felt that they had to remind her “that being governor is a lot more demanding than attorney general.” She responded, saying, “All of these jobs are very demanding. And people who, unfortunately, have to work three jobs and don’t necessarily have health-care coverage — they’re even in a worse situation. So nobody needs to give any pity on what elected officials have to endure.”
I agree with Ms. Madigan, but still feel bad that she is one of the many women in politics whose capabilities on the job and in the home are constantly and unnecessarily questioned during these interviews. With household dynamics and gender roles shifting constantly, and more men stepping up to be the primary caregiver, why aren’t these same questions being asked of male politicians?