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The sexist question Katrina Gorry was asked, that we actually need to keep asking.

"What does that juggle look like?" Matilda's star Katrina Gorry was asked by a male interviewer, in a clip that's now being shared (angrily) on social media.

"What does it look like from an Olympics perspective?" he continued.

He was asking about Gorry balancing parenting her nearly three-year-old daughter Harper and her four-week-old son Koby, while competing in the upcoming Paris Games. 

Gorry answered his question politely, telling him she had a supportive workplace and her fiancé and kids were over there with her. Her mum is due to join them all shortly to lend a hand.  


The criticism of the exchange is not new; 'why is this a question being asked of female athletes and not their male counterparts?' is the general gist of the outrage. 

The fact this question is (almost exclusively) asked of women is frustratingly sexist and backward, but it's a question we shouldn't shelve altogether. 

Because the truth of the matter is, trying to juggle parenting and paid work is bloody hard. It takes childcare and compromise and favours and teamwork and grandparents (if you're lucky enough to have them), and supportive workplaces.

I only have one small child and I work part time, and juggling is exactly how I would describe my current reality. My husband is juggling too, but if you asked him, the only real kid-related disruption to his week is the fact he is in charge of daycare-drop off. I am the primary parent and the one who is literally balancing my week between working for an employer and looking after my son, while also doing all of the daycare pick-ups and evening dinner-bed-bath routines due to my husband's later finish time. So that question about juggling is probably better directed at me within our partnership.

But in Gorry's current reality, it's probably better directed at her fiancé Clara. She is the one who is doing most of the parenting juggle while the family re-locates temporarily to support Gorry's Olympic goals. 

Image: Getty.


If both parents are working full-time, then it's a question for both of them. A constant to-and-fro sacrifice between them. 

The fact they asked Gorry, who is clearly in Paris to play football, not be the primary parent, is why it felt icky. Was she just asked this question because she is a woman?

If we didn't have the entrenched sexist undertones, we'd perhaps lean into this question as perfectly acceptable. Gorry has a newborn after all; how she and her partner are making that work with a toddler on top, while she is required to be across the world for work, is a legitimate curiosity.

But it's not asked of men in the same position... it's just not.


If this question was gender-less, it wouldn't be an issue. It's jarring to us because it's often used to shame or judge women who might not be doing what is traditionally expected of them as a mother; the lion's share of the parenting.

It wasn't that long ago that women had to quit their jobs when they got married. The expectation was that they'd soon be having kids, so they'd be child-rearing not working. They couldn't possibly do both.

Even though that has thankfully changed we live in a society that's not yet set up to accommodate what a two-working parent-household looks like, or ready to accept (wholeheartedly) that men can be stay-at-home or part-time workers too. 


Daycare costs leave family budgets so decimated they're left wondering if the small profit both parents going back to work brings is worth it. School hours being 9am-3pm while work-days are 9-5 is another math equation that simply doesn't compute.  

That's why this question about juggling shouldn't be ditched, because we can't let this conversation be muted. Because there isn't a parent I know who isn't currently grappling with the juggle. Between pickups and drop-offs (often at multiple places for multiple kids), after-school activities, trying to rush out of meetings for assemblies and sports carnivals, grappling with long commutes, having to take constant sick days and having to squeeze in work late at night once the kids have gone to bed — it's a tightrope of constantly balancing priorities. 

The risk of criticising this question, is it goes away altogether and we aren't given the chance to continually interrogate the problem. Because it is a problem. A great big snarling one that is so entrenched worldwide, it would take a literal overhaul of how we run our entire day-to-day as a society.

I want all parents to be asked this question. Let's talk about it, often. Let's make our logistical childcare labyrinth and daily work/kid routines more transparent, because most families today have two working parents. They can't afford not too. One might not be working as much, but that's only increasing the juggle.

I want to know what Katrina Gorry's family's 'juggle' looks like.  


But I also want to know what the juggle is going to look like for the dads on the Socceroo's squad also chasing Olympic victory. 

Because as I look to my future; potentially adding another child to my family, and then entering the well-trodden path of having primary school aged kids and two working parents, how the hell does that work? How are we letting so many generations struggle through that? 

"What does that juggle look like?" is a question we need to continually ask in order to solve. 

Let's just make sure we're asking men, too. 

Feature image: @katrinagorry10