Describing someone as a former hockey player is not sexism

Stuff reports:

In her letter to Henry, Blue said female representation in Parliament had been stuck at around 30 per cent since the first MMP election in 1996, and even went backwards at the 2014 election.

In her letter to Henry, Blue said female representation in Parliament had been stuck at around 30 per cent since the first MMP election in 1996, and even went backwards at the 2014 election. 

Blue questioned whether lawyer and public servant , who is the new chief executive of the Ministry for the Environment would have been described as a “former hockey player” in a media headline if she was a man.

There was still “a lot of work to be done,” Blue said. 

There definitely is still significant in NZ, where women in work get judged far more on what they wear, look like etc. However this example from is not a good one, as I am sure a former NZ representative rugby player would also get a headline of “Ex All Black becomes Chief Executive”. In fact David Kirk is almost always referred to as an ex All Black, even in the context of his very successful business career.

The article I saw at Stuff said this about Vicky Robertson:

A rising star at the Treasury is quitting to head the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) as it prepares for overhaul of the Resource Management Act.

The State Services Commission on Tuesday confirmed Vicky Robertson, who is deputy chief executive at the Treasury, had been appointed chief executive of MfE, replacing Dr Paul Reynolds, who quit last November. …

The mother of two is a former national hockey (Black Sticks) representative and has competed at national level in mountain biking.

At Treasury Robertson was responsible for the corporate and financial operations, as well as monitoring the Crown’s commercial investments and debt management.

Robertson, the first woman to head Treasury’s tax unit, was seconded to the United Nations Development Programme in New York in 2010, where she led a strategic and structural review of the organisation.

The sporting mention was minor, and I think of interest.

If there was anything I would criticise it is the mention of being a “mother of two”. You don’t see many male executives described by how many children they are the father of.

UPDATE: It has been pointed out that the reference to “mother of two” comes from Vicky’s own bio on the Treasury website, presumably authored by her.

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