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Ten years after landmark speech, Gillard wishes she’d spoken out sooner

Julia Gillard has revealed she regrets not earlier calling out the sexism she faced while prime minister.

Oct 10, 2022, updated Oct 10, 2022
A decade after her October 9, 2012 anti-misogyny speech, Julia Gillard believes sexist and misogynist behaviour is not tolerated as much as it was during her prime ministership.

A decade after her October 9, 2012 anti-misogyny speech, Julia Gillard believes sexist and misogynist behaviour is not tolerated as much as it was during her prime ministership.

On the 10-year anniversary of her famous misogyny speech, the former Labor leader says she was wrong to expect the gendered treatment would ease during her time in office.

“On sexism and misogyny I specifically regret not calling it out earlier,” she told Nine’s Today program on Monday.

“I had thought when I first became prime minister that the maximum reaction to me being the first woman would be in the early days and it would wash its way through the system.

“Knowing what I know now, it was going to gather and get worse. Potentially if I called it out earlier it could have been a bit easier.”

Gillard said she believed the media would have been “fragile” had she called out sexist coverage focusing on her appearance and clothes.

“Had I said to the media, is it really going to be like this? Are you going to report tax, defence, health, education or are you going to report what blouse I’m wearing each day,” she told ABC radio in a separate interview.

“Perhaps some sections would have thought it through and it would have started the discussion we needed to have.”

But Gillard said she was optimistic the job would be easier for the next woman who became prime minister.

“Things have changed, it’s impossible to imagine a prominent woman in Australian politics would be called the things I was without it having huge negative consequences today,” she said.

 

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