An evening with Julia Gillard

I went to listen to Julia Gillard last night with Mum. It was enjoyable. Mum like me is a conservative but she appreciates women in positions of power and what we can learn from them. I didn’t agree with Julia’s position on ‘Affirmative action’ to get women into politics. Affirmative action whether applied to race or sex is reverse discrimination in my opinion and my Mum agrees.

My Mother heads a very large business and she built it from the ground up. She earned the respect she now commands and nothing was handed to her on a platter. We both find the idea of ‘ giving ‘ women a quota disrespectful to women’s abilities. As far as I know Julia Gillard got to the top job on merit yet she doesn’t expect other women to achieve what she achieved in the same way.To be fair I think her real problem was the number of women currently in Politics. She reasoned that if only a few are in it then that reduces the chances of a leader being a woman. Sure it does but it also ensures that when women like her and Helen Clark do make the top job,they will be more than equipped to handle it. As she said last night, Politics is an adversarial environment. Julia made it very clear that she did not think as some women do, that more women in Politics would make the environment more consensual. She believes that you should fight passionately for what you believe in and she makes no apology for doing that.

That aside, Julia had plenty of pertinent things to share with the audience and some of it was very relevant to why I am so excited about Freed.

She pointed out how the Media in Australia had become Protagonists in Politics instead of interested observers reporting on the action. Julia herself described some of the ways in which she was attacked in the media and media campaigns against her.

During the evening Julia’s world famous Misogyny speech  was discussed so I just had to watch it today. It was a very well structured and argued speech. Her experience as a lawyer was obvious as she used evidence to build her case with skill. I appreciate a good speech or debate because I understand the techniques used to make it good and the skill required to deliver it effectively. When I was at primary school we had a speech competition every year at every level. My brother made his first speech at only 5 years old. I was 9 when I started at that school and I took part every year until I was 12 and won every competition. At High School I won every year bar one when I came second to a guy called Grant who went on to become a lawyer.

 

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has talked candidly about her time as the most powerful woman in her country – and also the most criticised.

Speaking at an event at the University of Auckland last night, she said being a female leader often meant she had to deal with gender-based stereotypes and criticism.

She acknowledged that the media and sometimes the public’s focus on her appearance was upsetting.

“It’s not just the time wasting – taking longer than a man to get ready … and then even talking about it.”

She pointed to times when she would attend or speak at an important event and then see that media had mostly focused on her outfit.

“[One] news report was: ‘Ms Gillard was wearing black pants and a white jacket’. It takes focus off of real issues.”
Ms Gillard became Australia’s first female leader when she took the role in 2010, taking over from Kevin Rudd. She also became the first woman to lead the country’s Labor Party.

Last night she told a gathering of about 600 people about some of the revelations in her new book, called: My Story.

She said she was surprised at the huge amount of praise she received following her now famous misogyny speech, in which she raised the issue of sexism in Parliament and called out then opposition leader Tony Abbott.

Ms Gillard has been working on a number of projects over the past couple of years, including joining forces with former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.The pair, along with more than 30 partners, recently announced $600 million would go towards girls’ education.

She said it was an initiative she was passionate about and also gave advice to young women looking to get into politics.

“Make sure you know why you’re in it – politics is not about celebrities. And nurture your self worth.

“You can’t afford to mortgage out how good or bad you feel because of tomorrow’s headlines.”

– NZ Herald

 


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