Anna Williamson, an author and presenter has said that we “expect the men to cheat” but women are often treated more harshly for their involvement, as an open letter has published condemning the treatment of Carrie Symonds, a woman who is at the centre of allegations about Boris Johnson’s private life.
Ms Williamson told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright: “When it comes to the question of affairs, there she is and there is the stereotypes playing out again.”
She added: “This is the thing about breaking that solidarity in womanhood.
“It is because women are less likely to be the ones having the affair, the minute it happens, it is the women portrayed in a particularly bad way.
“We somehow ‘expect’ the men to cheat.
“Therefore it just becomes what is expected and we throw more at the woman because she has dared to step over that line.
“But, she knew exactly what she was getting into by getting involved with a married man and you have to expect some heat as a result.
“If you do post pictures in the public eye as well, then yes particularly in the job she is doing it is pretty remiss of her for this to come to light.”
‘We have had enough’
A collection of political journalists, advisers and politicians have signed a letter condemning what they considered sexist media coverage of Ms Symonds.
The letter said the treatment of the former CCHQ director of communications had been appalling.
The letter said: “We are a group of women with little in common; we have different professions, different political allegiances or none, we are of different ages and move in different social circles, but one thing unites us: we have had enough.
“We all work in or around politics, and have been disturbed and shocked to watch the way Carrie Symonds has been treated by the media.
“There was and is absolutely no need for newspapers and websites to trawl through a woman’s social media, repeatedly indulging in innuendo, and publishing dozens and dozens of pictures of her, all taken in her private life – with some dating from over 10 years ago.”
The letter goes on: “Still, we are united in thinking that the way she has been treated is appalling, and must never happen again.”
It is signed by politicians including Sports minister Tracey Crouch and fellow Tory MPs Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan, as well as Labour MP Stella Creasy.
Ms Symonds has been linked to the former Foreign Secretary after Mr Johnson and his wife, Marina Wheeler, recently announced their divorce.
Several newspapers have carried pictures of Symonds dressed in revealing clothing, taken from her Facebook page.