Last night as former NSW Premier, Nathan Rees’ fate was sealed and Kristina Keneally stepped up to take on the scrupulous task, the Australian female population took two great steps forward in the ongoing battle for equality in the political stakes.

NSW now has its first female state Premier, a promotion which also marks the first female double act in Australian political history with Carmel Tebbutt announced as her deputy.

A cause for celebration? You would think so.

However unfortunately the media decided such a landmark in Australian politics wasn’t ‘sensational’ enough to be the ‘hook’ of the story and decided to go with the puppet show analogy instead.

The first day in the office and Kristina Keneally wakes up to this disgusting image gracing the front page of the Daily Telegraph this morning.


The image speaks for itself. What an insult.

Adding insult to injury, journalist Gemma Jones makes it clear that Kristina Keneally better watch her hair is in place and that her shoes match her outfit while she tries to run the state pointing to the fact that  – “Everything about her has been scrutinised. Her hairstyle has been called “aerodynamic”, her shoes studied and her suits documented” (p. 5 Daily Telegraph, 4 December 2009)

I don’t think I once heard a comment about Nathan Rees rather unappealing haircut. And what shoes he had on last night as he walked out of office? I wouldn’t be able to tell you.

What the media coverage on yesterday’s political hoo ha reveals is that although we seem to take one step forward on the gender equality front, the media often decides to put their two cents in and unfortunately we take another step back.

For those who work in or with the media, myself included, we need to watch the rhetoric and imagery we use to ensure gender equality remains at the forefront.