At Financial Times, It’s President Obama and Ms. Rouseff

Yesterday, at an event in San Francisco, some problematic reporting by the Financial Times was brought to our attention by a passionate supporter.

In two separate stories about world leaders in the January 10th issue of the Financial Times, the paper used the title “President” for the male Barack Obama and opted instead for “Ms.” to discuss Dilma Rouseff of Brazil.

In an otherwise neutral assessment of Rouseff’s accomplishments in office thus far, the reporter Joe Leahy makes the mistake of never giving Brazil’s leader her full title. The phrase “President Dilma Rouseff” does not appear at all in the article proper, and is only briefly used in a small sidebar piece. Check it out here. (FT requires a free account in order to read).

Yet Obama is given his title in a number of different articles that day. And he’s not the only one. In fact this piece on a financial tax proposal in France, printed on the 10th as well, opens with “President Nicholas Sarkozy insisted…”

It’s this kind of subtle sexism that robs powerful women of well-earned respect and sends the message to the public that our male presidents are somehow more important than our female ones.

What are your thoughts on the dropping of titles for female politicians? Leave us a response in the comments below!