In politics, or elsewhere for that matter, women in power are always asked about their marital status and their family. Do they have children? Are they good mothers? And if not, why, why, WHY? What’s wrong with them, aren’t they supposed to reproduce before thinking about anything else? At least that’s how the media see them.
But enough is enough.
Last week end First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, had to came clear about that issue during an interview. She is at the head of Scotland and she felt she had to justify herself because she does not have children. The constant pressure made her do it. She explained that she had a miscarriage at the age of 40. So those “people” desperate to know why on earth she did not start a family are relieved? She had to go public on one of her most traumatic memory. Maybe she did not want to talk about it, but she did. And there are two reasons why.
First, and this is very important, miscarriage is often a taboo in our societies. Movie star and urban legend want to make you believe that pregnancy and motherhood in general is the path to happiness, that nothing goes wrong and your baby will be there in time and perfectly healthy. But in reality of course it’s not always the case. On the contrary. Most of the pregnancy end naturally at an early stage, for some it’s a bit later. And it’s traumatic for those women who were promised flawless happiness and were not prepared at all for this. With this interview, Nicola Sturgeon raised awareness that miscarriage is way more common that you might think.
But with this declaration, Nicola Sturgeon wanted to point out the pressure she had been put under. That as a woman, she had to justify herself about why she did not have any children. Because still in 2016 it’s not considered normal to be child free. Does it make her less a good politician? Certainly not. She said that if she could go back 20 years back and have children this time, she would do it. But if that would have meant sacrificing her career, definitely not. Well, it’s sad to say but it’s right. Having children and reaching the top of political world is still a big challenge for women. It should not, but it still is. No wonder why Theresa May and Angela Merkel are child free as well.
In any case, having children should not slow women down in their career, as much as not having children at all should not be a hot topic in the press.