The Sunday Post (Dundee)

Remark feeds into a bigger problem

- By Ali Kirker

MOST people probably thought nothing of Chris Boardman’s comment when they heard it.

And when the fuss kicked off, they shook their heads in exasperati­on. Calm down dears, indeed. And I get why people think that. But here’s the thing. It’s all part of a bigger picture. Thoughtles­s sexist comments like that go on all the time.

So there was lots of talk about it being Jessica Ennis-Hill’s first Olympics since becoming a mum. What an “inspiratio­n” she was for working mothers everywhere.

I didn’t hear anyone say that mega medal winner Michael Phelps was an inspiratio­n for working dads, did you?

Similarly, presenter Helen Skelton’s outfits have caused no end of comments.

Shock! Woman in boiling Brazilian sun wears shorts!

Helen “flashes her curves” in her latest look. But I heard no comments on Sir Chris Hoy’s shirt or that Matt Baker was showing off his waist in a figure-hugging outfit.

And it’s not that long ago that tennis player Eugenie Bouchard was asked to “give us a twirl and tell us about your outfit” after a match. When was the last time Andy Murray was asked to give us a twirl? I know. You’d avoid me on a fun night out. But, as I said, bigger picture. Could it be that the fact women are treated so differentl­y in these seemingly trivial ways adds to the more serious issues?

For instance, a report last year suggested it will take more than 100 YEARS before women can expect equal pay with men.

It means young women just coming into the workplace have no hope of earning the same as men in their lifetime.

Other reports have suggested women are often “thought to be more competent” if they wear make-up in the workplace.

And throughout David Cameron’s stint as prime minister, how often did you read about Samantha Cameron’s outfit choices or how trim she was looking?

But I haven’t heard much comment on what Theresa May’s husband dresses like or if he’s a “stunner” in the suit he’s wearing (no offence, Philip. I’m sure you are).

Thankfully, there are plenty of enlightene­d men out there. Back to our own Andy Murray, a shining example.

Not only did he create headlines when he hired Amelie Mauresmo as coach but when he won his fabulous Olympic gold and interviewe­r John Inverdale claimed he was “the first to win two tennis gold medals”, Andy was quick to put him right and point out that actually, both Serena and Venus Williams had won more. Go Andy! I’d hate to get to the stage where a man feels he can’t compliment a woman.

A wee bit of flirting or banter can brighten anyone’s day. And I don’t have a problem with Chris Boardman. We all say silly things now and again.

But it’s such a shame that all this rubbish is still going on.

Because as any fool knows, if women actually ruled the world, it would be a much better place!

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