Friday, April 16, 2010

Even The Age now admits, Christine Nixon a beneficiary, not victim, of gender bias

Age journalists John Silvester and Andrew Rule write a mea culpa:
SPEAKING of Christine Nixon and meals, as everybody is, this column declares having lunched with her in 2004....Three years into the chief commissioner job, for her it was just another interview, handled adroitly by a woman who had mastered the art of seeming artless but never heartless.

For the reporter, it was part of the jigsaw puzzle of researching a profile. Afterwards, among 3000 other words, he wrote:
The most powerful woman in Australia … is a pleasant, middle-aged person who might pass for a hospital matron or the school teacher her father once wanted her to be. She is wholesome, unpretentious and friendly - the scone-making favourite aunt from central casting. She is also a tough cookie.

Nixon is in charge of 12,800 police - most of them armed - and an annual budget of $1 billion. If an airliner plunges into the Rialto tower tomorrow, she will be the one calling the shots.
Six years on, Nixon might still pass for the jolly aunt. But the other judgments look as wobbly as their subject did when she stepped from the witness box the other day…

As for her ‘’calling the shots’’ in a national emergency - clearly, calling shots is not her thing. She delegated hands-on stuff to those who ran the force’s operations during her eight years in the job.

This is no sneak attack on a high-achieving woman but a fact: as commander of the good ship Victoria Police, she toured the bridge on the way to the captain’s table but didn’t take the wheel. She had helmsmen for that. It worked fine until it hit an iceberg and the blame game started.

But don’t mistake the feeding frenzy for a gender war. The lynch mob would have gathered around any police chief who had absented himself from the control room while Victoria burnt.

Fact is, a few cheeky nicknames aside, ‘’Nanna’’ Nixon - aka ‘’Mrs Doubtfire’’ - was not a victim of gender bias, more likely a beneficiary of it.

More about what some journalists at The Age have or have not been saying here.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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