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Is this the end of the gender wars?

Accounts in the media over the past week explain, or rather rationalise, the downfall of our first female Prime Minister. One-time feminist warrior Eva Cox found that Julia Gillard failed to communicate…

In most of our workplaces and institutions there are subtle, cumulative, insidious judgements and responses that serve to reinforce the powerful status quo of leadership. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Accounts in the media over the past week explain, or rather rationalise, the downfall of our first female Prime Minister. One-time feminist warrior Eva Cox found that Julia Gillard failed to communicate and bring people along. More critical assertions suggest that Gillard’s ambition exceeded her political talent. Defenders speak of a warm individual in interpersonal contexts and a well-run parliamentary office.

Such extreme leadership events and commentary beg the question: What are our expectations of our nation’s leader, our Prime Minister? And, as Gillard proposed, is gender “everything” or “nothing”?

Prime characteristics

In formal terms, one would expect that the Prime Minister, regardless of gender, would have a nuanced understanding of their role in terms of constitutional responsibilities, the formal mechanisms of the parliamentary system and its interface with the bureaucracy of the public service.

We expect our Prime Minister not to be pre-occupied by short-term wins, but to pursue agendas that position the nation for the future. In this context, the Prime Minister has to have the capacity to lead the governing party effectively but also temper this with a constant eye to the long-term good of the nation, even when this demands political compromise and politically unpopular decisions.

In Australia (I hope) there is an enduring expectation that our Prime Minister will pursue policies that reflect fundamental national values of equality and inclusiveness.

Ticks for Gillard against the above.

But these are just some of the formal expectations. In practice, there are an equal number of nuanced traits - often unspoken, taken for granted - and even sub-conscious expectations upheld by the party, the media and the public.

Rising to the top

First, we cling to the notion that a national leader achieves their position through a legitimate process. Gillard is not the first to have achieved the position of Prime Minister in compromised circumstances. But she is the first woman to have done so, and this act was contrary to that of loyal deputy. Legitimacy of process underpins authority. Rudd has been quick to reclaim that legitimacy, to negate the easy comparison of “palace coups”.

Second, a national leader has to meet the ill-defined but powerfully felt image of “statesman”. I use the term statesman quite intentionally rather than the gender-neutral term “statesperson”. In Australia, we have never previously had a stateswoman national leader, so our expectations are shaped by those who have historically occupied this role.

It appeared that international leaders saw Gillard as a statesman, but is being a successful statesman more than the ability to tread the international stage effectively? Does being young, female, unmarried and, in relative terms, ungrounded in the political terrain, preclude fitting the expectations of the statesman? In searching for the statesman, did we then find fault in our Prime Minister’s dress, choice of partner, domestic lifestyle, and penchant for that particularly feminine art, knitting? In a woman did we find the unseemly parliamentary banter and adversarial politics unbecoming?

Third, a national leader cannot be seen to be driven by personal ambition – their motivation has to be in the nation’s best interests. Yet it was ambition that was seen to have propelled Gillard into the role of national leader and ambition that drove her determined and successful bid to form a minority government. It has been suggested that ambition is a fine trait in a man but not in a woman. Women need to develop the skills to ensure that we are perceived to have succeeded despite ourselves. Being sponsored by senior male colleagues, preferably statesmen of repute rather than “faceless men”, helps. Such statesmen reinforce the legitimacy of our political lineage.

Strengths and weaknesses

Women have many strengths, but also profound weaknesses. At the risk of generalising, one of our failings is to focus on achievement, expecting that this will be recognised and rewarded. The desire to change the world and make it a better place is an admirable ambition but fraught with risk, especially if we do not stop to look around to see who is coming on our journey. Gillard embarked on an ambitious and ultimately successful reform agenda. Yet she was deemed “wooden”, “cold” and lacking “media presence”. Despite her ambitious achievements, she failed to cultivate our trust, and her resilience, which she evidenced in spades, proved no substitute for trust.

Gender is not everything or nothing, but it is the powerful and pervasive lens through which our leadership narratives are read, and against which we are judged. The research tells us that gender discrimination is now subtle and nuanced, played out in informal spaces and subtle interactions. Women in leadership are judged differently to male counterparts, even when exhibiting comparable behaviour.

The public and media scrutiny of Gillard was not always subtle. The unseating of Gillard does not flag the end of the “gender wars”. In most of our workplaces and institutions there are generally not wars, not even skirmishes - there are subtle, cumulative, insidious judgements and responses that serve to reinforce the powerful status quo of leadership. This discrimination is less visible than the misogyny that Gillard had the courage to name, but unless we eliminate it the optimism Gillard expressed for coming generations of women leaders will remain ungrounded.

Join the conversation

68 Comments sorted by

  1. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    Generally women politicians are seen as popular and vote winners in Australia. There are disproportionately in marginal seats - partly because their male colleagues are snatching all the good seats, but also partly because they are seen as good campaigners for the marginals.
    Whenever ALP was on the nose in state governments they would desperately reach for a female politician to try and save the furniture.

    How is it that all this is forgotten because Julia Gillard proved a lemon? Isn't there a danger of damaging the prospects of other female politicians through the construction of political myths for no greater benefit that the self-justification narratives of one individual?

    Why be so quick to assume that Australians in general (or 49% of them) are misogynist and not ready for a female PM, instead of concluding that one female was not ready to be prime minister?

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    1. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Hmm...
      Demanding responses to your own prior unsupported (and somewhat irrelevant) assertions- "how is it that", "why be so quick to" - is a bit cheap. Nothing has been conceded yet, remember?

      Similarly, "all this" - presumably meaning your aforementioned assertions - is not really "all that" is it? Hardly an overwhelming force of of argument here.

      Your final statement depends, yet again, on putting up your own argument (perhaps we will not notice and think it was the author's) and then knocking it down.

      Nice try, but not very convincing I'm afraid.

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    2. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      According to Rod Cameron that all things being equal a female candidate will have a 2-3% advantage over a male candidate

      http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/09/03/1093939140861.html

      The misogyny factor is a myth that has been created as an alibi for a single high profile failure that has the potential to work out to the disadvantage for future female participation.

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    3. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      I am with you on the main, Sean.
      Who believes a politician, be it Gillard, Rudd or Abbott.
      Hmmm.... point for serious thought ... your last para.

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    4. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      and nice try too, Raine.
      But the participation of women (and anyone else) in democracy depends on free and fair access to the debate.
      The Misogyny Factor is in fact a book which documents the inequality of women in our society and how this is an obstacle to women's right to fair and equal representation.

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    5. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      I think Ed Husic gave Julia Gillard an excellent lesson in how to deal with such matters. When some people began abusing him on facebook for swearing on the Koran, he just said we shouldn't pay too much attention to what people in dark corners say or allow them to determine the conversation. Simple, short and effective.
      Alls fair in love and politics and if Gillard's misogyny focus had resulted in widespread public approval then it would have been justified. But it wasn't. So like all unpopular leaders she was dumped. Just like Bill Hayden.
      Its not much of a political strategy: vote for me because some of the people who don't like me say horrid things.

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    6. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Respect your point of view Freya, BUT a PM claiming to be a victim of misogyny? Come on, what an excuse to exploit female voter sentiments. Never looked good for the ex-PM from the start.

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    7. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Gillard gave Tony Abbott an excellent lesson in how to treat women with respect which was admired by the world. He has never dared to insult her since.
      It was other Australian women and men who protested against the "people in dark corners". Gillard ignored them, like most politicians do I imagine.
      I disagree that "all is fair in love and politics" we have standards of behaviour which allow for rational debate and civil rules which make society work. Even war has rules. If others choose repeatedly…

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    8. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      Well Raine if giving some behaviour the name of misogyny is claiming to be a victim in order to exploit female sentiment (which is not how I read it for one minute) how do you describe Abbott’s deciding Gillard’s recently deceased father, who would be feeling absolutely nothing, would be ashamed: would that be slapping at another (dead) man who can't answer for himself via his daughter to exploit male chauvinist sentiment? Or the use of the word bitch to describe Gillard by some of her own colleagues known to be in the Rudd camp, is this too an attempt to exploit male voter sentiments?

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  2. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    We still have some legislation on the books originating fro Julia's namesake, eg, Lex Julianus Municipalis (In the proper order?).
    Julia Gillard's legislation and her unbeatable record will be around for a while.
    But the small minds prefer to prattle about other things, it would appear.

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    1. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to James Hill

      That is still sadly true.
      I had thought the Misogyny Factor was a book, but it appears it is now a real actual myth. Progress! I'm quite excited by the potential of this to work out to the advantage of "future female participation" I must say! Quite soon now, I'm sure it will become a concept.

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    2. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to James Hill

      I see I mistook your general comment for a personal one, Mr Hill.

      And I agree with that also. It did look promising to me at first, but you are right, the conclusions are the same and add nothing new.

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    3. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to James Hill

      Yeah, so right you are, James. Gillard's "unbeatable record (for treachery} will be around for a while." Girls will learn that to rise one must me masterful at treachery.

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    4. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      Yes, Lady Macbeth, and the three hags.
      Catherine de Medici organising the St batholomews Day Massacre, Lucrecia Borgia, the wielders of poisons, and your mother, completely unsympathetic with your early toilet training issues?
      A rhetorical question, Raine, with no aspersions intended to either you or your mother.
      It is a general hatred of women, though?
      Or more particular?

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    5. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to James Hill

      People can say anything to get under one's skin. Politicians do tear at each other (not civilised but they do it). The point is, James, Gillard was the PM. Parliament is there to also enact enlightened laws / suggestions to redress social injustice; what ever it may be. If gender bias really do exist in high office, Gillard (as PM then), should have attempted to do something about it instead of whinging and and making a public spectacle of the PM's office. She really missed the opportunity.

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    6. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      I'll make a suggestion from an insider's viewpoint, Raine, that might explain Gillard's actions and your disappointment.
      Gillard came from a migrant family, itself from a country with its own language and traditions, where women are not, generally and culturally treated with disdain.
      By way of example, a study of the distribution of various coloured cats in Europe and the Near East, found that when all the black cats were exterminated as "creatures of the devil" during the medieval religious insanity…

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    7. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to James Hill

      James, you will never see my point of view. Gillard's ethnicity (Welsh) or the example of Scottish women don't gel with me. She is an Aussie (since the age of five). She is PM of Australia (not Wales); as PM she cannot hide behind gender or ethnicity or class. Gillard was PM then for ALL Aussies (all religion, ethnicity, class and gender). You obviously admire her and it is natural that you'd look for reasons to justify her actions. Thanks for trying but we'll agree to disagree when it comes to Gillard. Have a great day, James.

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    8. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to James Hill

      Fascinating history of Gillard's origins James, thanks.
      I would suggest that early Australians were "outsiders", not only by religion, but by class. This has contributed to a "national character" which is different in positive and negative ways.

      I disagree with your characterisation of Gillard as "bewildered" or as "whinging" in exercising her right as a citizen to defend herself against abuse.

      The term "public spectacle" is usually applied to people whom others believe should be silent and demure. A bit of a handicap for a politician.

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    9. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      *early Australian colonists* I should have said. I also have some catching up to do on awareness of discrimination in language!

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    10. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to James Hill

      Thanks for the fill in James. I had put this cultural misunderstanding down to her PR. I had put her seeming maturity and sophistication in the light of the sotto voice across the parliamentary table and internal white-anteing etc simply to her singularly brave personality. Either way it makes for a good tale, someone to admire and we need more of them.

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  3. Rene Oldenburger

    Haven't got one

    I would say Australians are more than ready for a female Prime Minister. Gillard was all about Gillard and pretending that she is some sort of victim, don't forget she's part of the Emily's List, which is rather a bizarre collection of women , who are not after equality but after power.

    Of course Gillard's links with that Emily's List never get a mention

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    1. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Poor victimised Gillard. Our former PM was a victim. Wicked men in blue ties, bias media, hostile feminists, blah..blah..blah.
      PMs have no gender ... they are just PMs who stand for ALL citizens. Period.

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  4. Lee Emmett

    Guest House Manager

    I disagree with many of the author's assertions.

    'One-time feminist warrior Eva Cox found that Julia Gillard failed to communicate and bring people along.' I would contend that the media starved Julia Gillard of air (time) and (newspaper) space to put forward her views and achievements. On television journalists often had video footage of Julia Gillard's image, but excluded her words, and provided in their place, opinionated voice-overs.

    In relation to 'a national leader achieves their position…

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    1. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Lee Emmett

      Excellent response Lee. Thank you for cutting to the heart of what is wrong with this article so clearly.
      Wall to wall coverage of verbose Rudd is in all too stark contrast to the rarely seen Gillard permitted little more than unflattering sound bites.

      And why does Cox's name always have to be prefixed by overblown epithets? I'm sure she would be the first to expect her opinions to stand on their own. It's not as if women who talk about women are some sort of aberration which requires an accompanying health warning is it?

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    2. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Lee Emmett

      Thanks for going to the trouble and reminding us of all this. And how very true it all is. However, it's not facts that will negate the myths in some minds.

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    3. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      Raine, I probably share your disappointment at the blatant public display of disunity in the labor party or any political party for that matter for a united front gives a certain reassurance to the voter that what they vote for is what they will get. But this of course is and has always been a self-deception. Things change, technology changes, trade changes, political and economic power bases shift and so do the levels of entrepreneurial activity and employment. Not to mention the fact that unpalatable truths are withheld and delayed, and in some cases downright lies are told for purposes of poll or electoral victory or policy support. Then of course there is the corruption and the greedy hands who steal from the electorate as if it were their personal due. Apart from this there are the forced united fronts where no-one is fearless enough to question their leader and this is of equal worry.

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  5. Tim Benham

    Student of Statistics

    > Women need to develop the skills to ensure that we are perceived to have succeeded despite ourselves

    When first we practice to deceive... Maybe you could consider honesty as an alternative.

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  6. Eva Cox

    Professorial Fellow Jumbunna IHL at University of Technology, Sydney

    Not sure why I'm dismissed as 'one time feminist warrior', I'm still at it but am concerned that the questions of Julia Gillard's demise seems to be splitting feminists rather than allowing a reasonable debate on why it happened. The implications.of this article and accusations in Anne Summers' piece are that anything less than praise of her performance is a betrayal of feminist solidarity. I acknowledge her strengths and the damage made by sexist assumptions about her, but that is not the whole story.

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    1. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Eva Cox

      Who is the real feminist and what is feminism about these days actually in this country.

      What's the obsession with gender research in this country?

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    2. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Eva Cox

      I agree, Eva, I thought the" one-time" phrase was dismissive to say the least. That was my point, all these kind of epithets do is focus unnecessarily on our "difference".

      I have struggled to understand your position re Gillard, however. Certainly not through any issue of "loyalty". I know we have all agreed is is ok for women to disagree - and greatly looking forward to that day when women talking together is not such a rude shock for others!

      My own disagreement is on grounds of strategy…

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    3. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Eva Cox

      Eva with cheap shots at the author and Anne Summers you expect to stem the split? All I remember just recently about your being still at it were reports in the MSM that you supported Tony Abbott’s graded maternity leave employer funded (yet unsupported) promises over Gillard’s government sponsored right here and now in the hand one. Were you incorrectly reported? If not could you care to explain why you would make this preference when you are seemingly old enough to remember the days when women were not employed because they would only become pregnant and have to leave? Or, has that been all fixed?

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    4. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      You are right Chris, Eva's comment will only shut down debate if she is going to keep playing the "loyalty" card like this.

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    5. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Eva Cox

      Eva, your comments on last night's ABC RN Drive program suggested that the feminist debate is now getting "nasty". You also commented that the word "loyalty" is now being "used". My comment above is a polite attempt to propose a reasonable alternative to your own views, on grounds which are not personal. I suggest that your comments above, and broadcast yesterday, are misrepresentative of Anne Summers' position, and of those who disagree with your opinions on events of the past three years.

      I…

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    6. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      It certainly has come as a surprise to me that feminists were ever a united group. Yes, Freya it is really hard to talk about issues which are directly pertaining to women or any other similarly necessarily excluding issue without being labelled pro or anti some particular person or ideology or seen as advocating some personally advantageous outcome, as well as earning the title of being just plain stupid. To attempt to distinguish what was not ‘just politics’ about the treatment of the Prime Minister…

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    7. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      That's a very fair comment Chris, the confusion of 'political' and 'social' factors seems to be proving a huge hurdle to this debate. I had hoped to offer some clarity (for myself at least,however clumsily.) I understand Eva's political positions re the Gillard govt, but see no contradiction in addressing the wider issues more openly.

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  7. Chris Richardson
    Chris Richardson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Doctor

    It makes me wonder whether the "leadership" that we've accepted over time (which has been historically provided by men) has it's properties because that's what human leadership requires (ie has a sort of absolute value), or just because that's what we've gotten used to.

    If leadership has a more absolute value, we ask the question whether there are specific male or female traits that are better suited to it - this would suggest that one or other sex, in general, might be better at it.

    It might be the case that leadership does have a set of absolute qualities that have not be well provided for historically, because men have dominated leadership positions. If there are such things as feminine and masculine traits, it could be that what constitutes leadership might evolve as more women adopt those roles.

    How quickly the community adopts to these changing notions is altogether another story, maybe Gillard's story.

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  8. Andrea Shoebridge

    logged in via Facebook

    Rather than the end of the gender wars, the removal of a female prime minister heralds the suppression of the visibility of the gender wars because, without such a target, patriarchy will simply roll on, untroubled by the presence of the feminine in the masculine spaces of power.

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    1. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Andrea Shoebridge

      I don't think Sharon has established that there was in fact a gender war. Gillard responded to the call of her party to leadership. She largely ignored the harmful divisive leaking from Rudd's camp, engaged in a defense of her recently departed father and her deep bond to him against what can only be described as an attack by sniping terrorists and she called it for what it was. Finally, she called for a leadership spill again in response to her party's request. As for the rest of us we copped a daily dose of the MSM's sexist carping which disgusted both males and females (and which incidentally certainly did not help their sales or survival any, but they were too busy rearranging deck chairs to heed warnings). It was merely a one sided war, if war is what you wish to call it. But there was no war, nor did Gillard or any woman call for one.

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    2. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Incisively put, Chris.
      I object to the term gender wars also.
      Not least on the grounds that it is yet another example of linguistic cooption by the LNP etc of issues where they are weakest: culture wars, class wars, gender wars.
      I do agree with Andrea's point that the whole issue will disappear, the ms media are certainly rolling over it in a hurry.

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    3. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Andrea Shoebridge

      Yes. And that may be why the whole damn lot of them so improbably, and witlessly, discovered a common cause and scapegoat I suspect Andrea :(

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    4. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Don't fret Freya. It does not matter with the MSM. They have a limited life anyway. It is there in the community memory, no it won’t go away. The young girls today who had a taste of a Female Prime Minister are not going to get too hung up by the fact that Gillard was treated badly by the blue tie boys both journalists and pollies. What they will and do see is that she was able and in that alone she empowers them. When their time arrives they will believe that things are different to what they were in the past, just as Gillard herself would have done. That she was too mature, too sophisticated for the rest of us, was no more her fault than her puppy’s. That she refused to play Rudd’s and Abbott’s games is more power to her and it is her legacy and it will endure and young women today will admire that and aspire.

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    5. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Wise and kind words Chris.
      And may I say, I admired your style above, but thought enough said by me!

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    6. Andrea Shoebridge

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Possibly misquoting St Leonard (Cohen), there is always "a war between the man and the woman" - or, rather, the feminine and the masculine, which doesn't mean individual women and men are battling but the gendered forces are locked in a millennia-long struggle for equality, power and their place in the sun.

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    7. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Andrea Shoebridge

      Dear Andrea, we are probably saying similar things. But Gustav Jung is more meaningful to me. “What can a man say about woman, his own opposite? I mean of course something sensible, that is outside the sexual program, free of resentment, illusion, and theory. Where is the man to be found capable of such superiority? Woman always stands just where the man's shadow falls, so that he is only too liable to confuse the two.” "Women In Europe" (1927).
      That Julia hooked in the animas of both Rudd and Abbott is a heavy load to carry.

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    8. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      I am always stunned by the inability of some to feel empathy for those who are right beside them. Your ref expresses this better than any I have seen.
      Perhaps when we are able feel compassion for our own shadow others will cease to be the object of our animus.

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    9. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Freya, the amazing reactions to having a female Prime Minister are well worth exploring. I remember an outburst from a man (of sorts) who claimed that “Someone should shoot Gillard. If someone gave me a gun, I would shoot her myself” in a crowded, busy room for all and summary to hear. Of course, one shoots vermin: snakes, mad dogs, to cull kangaroos and wild pigs. One also shoots out of compassion to put an animal out of its misery: a savaged sheep, a damaged horse of no use to anyone anymore…

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    10. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      "Make an honest women of" is also ref to a biblical "dishonest woman" meaning prostitute. I can't decide if the press are just ignorant or malicious.

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  10. Chris Saunders

    retired

    Dear Sharon just a few remarks on your major points. You talk about Gillard gaining the leadership in compromised circumstances. Do you mean by this that Rudd would not call for a leadership spill although asked by his party to do so, and not having the numbers should have and that would have made Gillard’s access legitimate? The real power of the party is the majority. The majority of the ALP parliamentary party wished Gillard in and that in itself made her accession legitimate surely?
    You…

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    1. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris, all this is history. Accept the facts; Gillard did not perform well with the general Labor supporters; Rudd is here now. Abbott is the contender. Let's move on. Which ever party governs Australia, let's hope it will be for ALL Australians (that includes all genders). Viva Australia!

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    2. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      No Raine, I decided to linger just a little longer. Can't agree with your statements above, did not agree with Sharon's either as explained in my post above yours. Still stick by them. My real politic tries not to consist purely of hopes. My memory of history tries not to consist purely of myths. I'll move on when I'm ready.

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    3. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      "The subtle discrimination you speak of has ever been. Power as held by the powerful is not something they are willing to surrender. The fact that men hold the bulk of power says it all."
      Thought that was worth repeating, and add:
      Those who depend on power will defend it, and so on and so on.

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  11. G. H. Schorel-Hlavka

    logged in via Twitter

    As a CONSTITUTIONALIST I look at matters not as to the gender but the qualities of the person. You refer to " the Prime Minister has to have the capacity to lead the governing party effectively " but a Prime Minister may be the leader of a party, but doesn't have to be, as Edmund Barton wasn't, but must be leading the government. This was a roller coaster of a government, just that you never knew who was telling the truth. you never knew what to expect. A government is there to assist the Governor-General…

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    1. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to G. H. Schorel-Hlavka

      If "people" are prone to make judgements based on irrelevant issues like gender, that would hardly be Gillard's fault would it? In fact, it would only confirm that the prejudice against her was irrational.

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