Julia Gillard has copped more than her share of, usually sexist, abuse since she appeared before the Australian people as one the nation’s most powerful women.
Her legacy on Australia from her time as Prime Minister still resonates with echoes of her now famous Misogyny Speech.
While the context of the speech – a political scandal engulfing the government’s handling of sexual harassment claims against then-Speaker and Labor MP Peter Slipper – might be lost, the meaning behind the words are as relevant now as they were eight years ago.
Julia Gillard joined Jodie and Soda to talk about that speech, the way we still treat women and how she deals with the abuse.
Listen to the full chat here:
Ms Gillard told Jodie and Soda that the speech is now popping up in some unexpected platforms.
“The fact that it is still resonating, you know people have joked with me about it making an appearance on TikTok,” Ms Gillard shared, going on to say that it gives her hope for the next generation of women.
“They’re smart, they’re really smart and they know that they are going out into a gendered environment where they could be treated differently just because they’re a woman.
“It shows that this is a generation that is going to bring a lot of change.”
However, Gillard notes that it’s not just incumbent on the next generation of women to bring about the change.
“Much of the academic research on women and leadership shows that because we’ve all got gender stereotypes that whisper in the back of our brains.
“We look at a woman who’s commanding, who’s telling other people what to do and we easily conclude ‘Gee, she’s given up on the nurturing bit, hasn’t she? She’s not very warm and liked. She’s a bit of a bitch.’
“And we’re inviting people to unpack that if they’re looking at a woman leader and that’s the thought that jumps into their brain, instead of just succumbing to it, ask yourself the question ‘Is she really like that? Or am I only thinking that because of this gendered stereotyping?’”
But when it comes to actually dealing with that abuse, whether online or through the media, Gillard says that not letting it stick is a skill.
The advice is to ask “what is legitimate, constructive criticism that we should have a big think about, and what is just nasty and we should just let bounce off us? I think that’s a skill that we all need to have.
“I think it does take some cost out of you. And when I look back at the misogyny speech I do sometimes think that, you know, this was building up inside of me.
“So even though at a kind of, top of head level I was pushing all of this back, maybe it was building up in some way and it burbled forth in the misogyny speech. I think there does sometimes come to be a moment of reckoning, but I don’t like the sense that the trolls and the bullies and the sexists and the misogynists end up winning by messing with our heads.”