Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she and her Labor Party colleagues should have “named and shamed” the sexist abuse hurled her way earlier than they did, and has issued another call for men in the workplace to call out misogynist behaviour whenever it bubbles up.
In a new episode of Labor MP Andrew Leigh‘s podcast, which was released this morning, Australia’s 27th Prime Minister said she believed the sexist critiques would ebb once people acclimatised to the fact a woman occupied the nation’s top office.
Of course, that was not the case.
“As we recall now, actually the gendered insult became more and more common the longer the government governed, and the more political heat there was around and the more measures to contest, particularly carbon pricing,” Gillard said.
“I think with the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better if all of us named it and shamed it earlier, but that’s a lesson learned only through having lived through it.”
Nearly seven years after her legendary speech in the House of Representatives, in which she claimed she would “not be lectured on sexism and misogyny” by then-Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Gillard says “absolutely we shouldn’t wait” to defend women in politics from obviously sexist commentary.
Despite the reverberations of that speech, Gillard added the onus is on men to step up.
“Now I don’t say that to dissuade women from doing it – I think women still should – but we should recognise the power of third parties calling it out,” she said.
And the most powerful thing in that room, you know, one woman and a whole lot of blokes, would be for one of the blokes to say you know, ‘steady on mate, that’s not the right way to behave. Let’s get back to talking about this.’ It doesn’t have to be an angry exchange that breaks the discussion up and people pound out of the room.
The podcast comes amid continual scrutiny on the Coalition and the treatment of women in its ranks. You can have a listen here.
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