It was announced this morning that Australia has its first woman Prime Minister; Julia Gillard. I tweeted that politics aside, I like the fact that a woman is running the country. I like that fact that the party she belongs to think she has the chops to win an election and the chops to run the country.
But three years ago Segolene Royal contested the 2007 French presidential election. She was asked who would look after her 4 children?
“The frank answer is no“, said Julia Gillard.
In May 2007 Liberal Senator Bill Heffernen said that Julia Gillard is not qualified to lead the country because she is deliberately “barren”.
Julia Gillard right hit back the next day branding him a man of the past.
But here we are today with Julia Gillard being promoted to leader of the Australian Labor Party and by default Prime Minister of Australia.
Is it a win for feminism? Yes? If Pauline Hanson ever made it to the top job would that be a win for feminism? Theoretically yes, but definitely not a win for progressive thought.
Below is a post I wrote on my other blog titled Could I Possibly Be Prime Minister? Click on the link to read the comments.
Well could I? Apart from the usual qualifications and experience one needs to lead a nation, could I, a mother, become Prime Minister of Australia?
Julia Gillard, Labor’s Deputy Leader, doesn’t think it’s likely.
Ms Gillard has thrown the topic up for discussion; would John Howard or Peter Costello have held their jobs for as long as they have or even at all if they were mothers instead of fathers.
Before I had children I would have been jumping up and down accusing her of re-enforcing the much hated glass ceiling syndrome but now that I’ve had children…well…what can I say….my whole perspective on it has changed.
I am all for supporting women who want to work and raise a family, after all who am I to judge? Let’s face it; these women are keeping the issue of working conditions for mothers at the fore.
But for me my world changed when I became a mother and going out to work just didn’t hold the same appeal for me as it did in the past. I knew within myself that home is where I wanted to be and I just wouldn’t be the employee that I would be required to be. Not while my children are young.
But is that what Julia Gillard is driving at? Mothers can’t help but have their attention diverted from the task at hand, more so than fathers? Or is the question more of a societal truth? Mothers just don’t get the top jobs.
If this is the case, then why?