‘One big mistake’

JULIA Gillard has revealed in a new interview she should have addressed the blatant sexism and misogyny she endured as Australia’s first female prime minister early on in her tenure.

“I should have recognised that if I didn’t deal with it up front, it would build,” she told The Times in an interview in London.

“In the early press conferences I should have pulled up journalists and said, ‘You never would have said that about a male prime minister.”

During her run, Ms Gillard was subjected to blatantly sexist attacks; from Tony Abbott pointedly making speeches in front of placards stating ‘Ditch the bh’, to Alan Jones saying Ms Gillard should be put in a bag and thrown out to sea, among many, many others.

Ms Gillard, of course, made global headlines in 2012 when she stood up in parliament and gave her PM-defining speech on sexism and misogyny.

To Tony Abbott she said: “If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn’t need a motion … he needs a mirror.”Gillard also told The Times she had made a mistake by not acknowledging that being elected Australia’s first female prime minister was a landmark moment for the country (she thought she’d be “harping on”). She told The Times she now believed if she had spoken about the occasion, it might have emboldened women, particularly female commentators, to condemn the misogyny thrown at her.

Ms Gillard, however, baulked at accusations that the shabby treatment of her by male politicians and commentators was unique to Australia.

“I am patriotic enough always to have an instinctive reaction against this being something to do with Australia,” she said. “There are elements of this in the treatment of women right around the world, and we have yet to see it fully playing out in the context of the US presidential contest. But last time, when Hillary was against Barack Obama for the primary … there were things that were 100 per cent about gender.”

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