Sexist AFR cartoon depicts Ardent Leisure CEO Deborah Thomas in bed with a shareholder


Rob Moran

Chief Executive of Ardent Leisure, Deborah Thomas.

Chief Executive of Ardent Leisure, Deborah Thomas. Photo: Jessica Hromas

Need some more proof of the business world's sexism problem? Just look at how the Australian Financial Review decided to depict one of Australia's few female CEOs, Deborah Thomas of Ardent Leisure. 

Thomas, the former editor of Australian Women's Weekly and Cleo, has been the head of the company - which owns theme park Dreamworld, and a bunch of health clubs, bowling alleys and marinas around the world - since March last year.

In a cartoon - featured next to an article criticising Thomas' leadership of the group - the CEO is depicted lying in bed with a shareholder, with the caption: "Shareholder and Deborah Thomas... 'More of the ardent, less of the leisure would be nice...'."

Sigh. There's probably a million ways to achieve that same play on words without resorting straight to "I've got it! Sex with a shareholder!", but misogynists tend to overlook such options when a woman's involved. 


The cartoon is just the latest sexist controversy for AFR, who last year were widely criticised for being stupid enough to give Mark Latham a regular column.