Gender equality…Does it exist?
A subject which shouldn’t be such a discussed or contested topic; not because it isn’t important but because it should not be an issue. There shouldn’t be a need to discuss inequality between genders because it should not exist!
Differences in pay for doing the same job, greater employment opportunities for men, and more cultural freedoms are just a few of the things that need to be addressed in terms of gender inequality.
But it goes much deeper and much darker than just pay brackets; when women in India are afraid to be in public spaces for fear of being raped, even the most misogynistic people should know that something has gone terribly wrong.
However I am not going to talk about this today; no today I will be highlighting the injustices which the Australian media offered to the countries first ever female Prime Minister. Was Julia Gillard really treated that poorly by the Australian media? The short answer…Yes she was!
Julia Gillard was once regarded by some as one of the best political minds in our country, in her time serving as the minister for education, employment and social inclusion as well as being the deputy Prime Minister. Kevin Rudd however is known as a micro-managing, short-tempered and overly controlling PM. And yet “K-Rudd” was a media Darling while the now former PM was the woman our country loved to hate. “Julia Gillard is hated even more than your average Prime Minister, and your average Prime Minister is already hated quite a lot”-Ben Pobjie.
The first argument in favour of the mistreated Gillard is the lack of common courtesy shown to her by the Australian media and public. Former Prime Minister Gillard was very rarely afforded the respect of being addressed with her full title, or even her full name. John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Paul Keating and even Tony Abbot are addressed with their last name whereas Ms Gillard was more often than not simply referred to as Julia. Not a fitting or respectful enough for the Woman running our country. The media also focused on her shortcomings and forgot to mention all the good she did, like attending the funeral of King Sihanouk of Cambodia, while most other world leaders (also in the country for a summit) didn’t bother themselves to make an appearance.
Secondly Julia Gillard had to put up with criticism about almost every aspect of her appearance, certainly more so than any other previous PM. Sure John Howard got a bit of stick for cultivating eyebrows that could be seen from space and Kevin Rudd was labelled a “pudgy faced nerd” on more than one occasion. But that’s nothing compared to almost endless list of knit-picking the media felt necessary to point out about our first ever female PM. Julia Gillard should have been hailed as a giant leap forward for our country, The first female PM, a step in the direction of equality. Instead she was criticised for the way she dressed, the way she walked, the way she talked, the size of her nose and the colour of her hair. Heck, even Germaine Greer, the voice of feminism in the 1970’s, took a cheap shot at the size of Ms Gillard’s derriere.
And thirdly the name calling and low blows Julia Gillard received were not just uncalled for but quite often down right horrible. Ju-liar, was one such nickname received for doing a U-turn on her promise not to introduce a carbon tax. However John Howard seemed to escape such name calling when he did the same thing with the GST. But childish name calling aside, blatant attacks on the PM’s personal life by the media crossed the line. None more so than Alan Jones suggestion that Gillard’s father died of shame, following the untimely death of her father in September 2012. A disgusting suggestion which shouldn’t be uttered about the vilest of humans let alone the Prime Minister of Australia.
In conclusion the media’s treatment of Julia Gillard was indeed over critical in almost every way. From the lack of respect in addressing her title, to the constant emphasis on her appearance and focusing on her shortcomings. Julia Gillard should have been treated like the brilliant minded pioneer she was instead of the scapegoat she became.
Maybe some people are regretting the way that played out now that we get Mr Abbott?