When was the last time you saw a headline about a man’s job promotion that read, “Father of Three Poised to Lead Major Company?”
Oh, that’s right. Never. Which is why this recent headline in The Telegraph announcing the expected career move of Rona Fairhead, the former Financial Times chief executive who is likely about to become the first female chair of the BBC Trust, just didn’t sit well with readers.
Is it true and accurate that Ms. Fairhead is indeed a mother? Yes. Is it a worthy and major accomplishment of which she should be proud? Of course. Is it the most relevant of her accomplishments with regard to her career? Nope.
The paper could have mentioned that she is a longtime businesswoman who holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, or that she was a former employee at Bain & Company and Morgan Stanley and the former CEO of Bombardier’s UK Aerospace Services, or that she is currently a non-executive director at HSBC Holdings. But instead, the paper decided to focus on the novelty of a woman (a mother, no less!) holding such a position of power.
Would a man with an identical family life and identical career history have been given the same headline? Again: nope. And it’s that glaring inequality that readers picked up on so quickly. The social media backlash was swift and on-point. Here are just a few choice examples of tweets being lobbed at the newspaper. We think the crack about who’s making dinner is our favorite:
— Lucy Goldsmith (@wvhtlucy) August 31, 2014
— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) August 31, 2014
— Lauren Petrie (@lmpetrie) September 1, 2014