Nicola Sturgeon: Women politicians have it harder than men

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has spoken out about the sexist attitudes she still battles as a senior woman politician.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: John DevlinFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: John Devlin
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: John Devlin

In a wide-ranging interview with The Gentlewoman magazine, the SNP leaderbrought up a number of incidents that what she was wearing was pored over more than her policy statements.

Sturgeon also noted the burden that female politicians are under compared to their more widespread male counterparts.

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She said: “Every time a woman politician goes in front of a camera, there are maybe 100 things that she has to worry about, consciously or subconsciously, that a man will never have to have cross his mind.”

At her groundbreaking and glass-ceiling shattering meeting with Theresa May, the second woman Prime Minister in Britain, Sturgeon said that some reporters were “only interested in our shoes”.

Sturgeon, Scotland’s first female First Minister, also spoken about her difficulty in opening up about a miscarriage and bemoaned the image bestowed on her and other childless politicians of making a cold, career-focused decision not to start a family.

She told the magazine: “For many women, that’s not the case.

“It’s so complex. In my life, the not wanting to have kids, the not being able to have kids, having the miscarriage – these have all been true at different points.”

The profile also charted Sturgeon’s rise from teenage activist to First Minister through the highs of victory and the lows of SNP support being comparatively non existent in Sturgeon’s youth.

The First Minister told the magazine of her disappointment at Hillary Clinton failing to become the first female President of the USA, and noted comparisons between the two politicians.

She added: “I’ve identified with a lot of what she’s been through, and I admired a lot of how she has dealt with that.”

The full interview appears in the Spring/Summer ‘17 issue of The Gentlewoman.