A Feminist a Day: Julia Gillard

Who is she?

Julia GillardJulia Gillard was Australia’s first female Prime Minister and, before that, a Deputy Prime Minister, Education Minister and Employment Minister. She was responsible for drafting affirmative action goals in the Labor Party of women achieving 35 per cent of winnable seats, and played a role in founding EMILY’s List.

While in politics, she faced a stream of sexist slurs (remember “ditch the witch” and that awful “barren” comment?) and in 2012 delivered her famous Misogyny Speech, which echoed around the world.

Why should we thank her?

Just for being the first female PM, for starters. It’s a huge barrier to break through and many, many girls will grow up thinking the top job is attainable – never underestimate the power of that. Today, Julia’s work focuses on getting children around the world into school, especially girls.

The Misogyny Speech is already recognised as one of the great speeches in political history – it’s been described as the “Gettysburg address of feminism”. Its powerful delivery summed up the fury of a female leader who had faced a barrage of misogynistic behaviour in politics. Not to mention facing an Opposition Leader whose views on  women were a little behind the times, to say the least.

Best quote

“I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not. And the Government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. Not now, not ever.”

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A Feminist a Day: Julia Gillard

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