I’m the mother to two grown-up sons but on Thursday I became a new mum again when I gave ‘birth’ to my latest novel, Buy Buy Baby. My book is a bittersweet story of two very different women united in their desperate quest for motherhood.
I’ve discussed my strong views on motherhood and identity in a guest post I wrote for Naomi Frisby’s website, The Writes of Woman which generated thought-provoking comments about a woman’s sense of self. It’s a topic that fires me up and so I was very interested to wake up to the latest joust in the battle for the leadership of the Conservative Party where it was all kicking off on social media about Andrea Leadsom allegedly claiming in The Times that, “being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of the country”.
If she’s not been misquoted, it’s a gob-smacking statement to make and imply that anyone, such as Theresa May, isn’t as well qualified for the job because she isn’t a mother. Being a parent should never be a prerequisite to hold down any level of responsibility and here in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon is a phenomenal role model for women, young and old. And then there’s Angela Merkel, another powerful European leader who has led her country for 16 years. I could go on and on with examples of child-less leaders that makes quotes like, “Being a mother gives me edge on May” sound utterly ridiculous.
Leadsom is now being castigated for her alleged remarks and if it they’re true then it was a condescending cheap shot to suggest that somehow childless women, or indeed men, live in a vacuum and that being a parent makes you a better person.
I’ve explored this topic and challenged the ideas about society’s expectations and attitudes to women throughout Buy Buy Baby and hope that the yearning of the two main characters in the novel provokes discussion on such an emotive topic.
Do you think a mother makes a better candidate to lead the country?
5 thoughts on “Potty Politics”
I don’t believe being a mother is a qualification for any job. Being a mother means you have a child or children, it neither bestows or requires any particular abilities or attributes. Yes, certain abilities or attributes may make for a particular type of mother, but these will not necessarily translate into a workplace setting and may be inappropriate. Motherhood is, or should be, irrelevant as a requirement, asset, or drawback when applying for a job.
Hear hear Anne! A friend on FB has just commented that experience of handling toddlers would be useful in dealing with squabbling politicians. Joking aside, it really is an insensitive and daft statement to make about leadership qualities, or as you say, as criteria for any job.
It’s such an odd statement to make. Somehow I managed to be a teacher for well over a decade and have a stake in other people’s children without having children of my own. Is it so difficult to understand that there are many ways to leave a legacy and surely, as humans, we’re all invested in feeling that we’ve left something for the future which won’t contain us?
It is very odd! If a spin doctor advised her in any way they should be sacked. I suppose it got her lots of media attention and there’s no such thing as bad publicity and all that but I’d make an exception in this case. She’s surely alienated many people with such an offensive stance.
Well, seems as though it’s just caused her to pull out of the leadership race…what interesting times we’re living in.