A platform for voices supporting women's rights
The Telegraph describes how Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female Prime Minister, was subjected to a number of sexist comments from Abbott during her tenure. Alongside the eye-rolling, chortling and scoffing, Abbott reportedly made a number of sexist accusations directed at Gillard, challenging her to “make an honest woman of herself”. He was also pictured in front of protests holding placards calling Gillard a “bitch” and a “witch”. It appeared that the world was behind Gillard when her accusation of misogyny and anger against Abbott went viral and women seemed to understand her frustrations. However, this seemed to do little to affect the outcome of the Australian Federal elections that elected Abbott to Prime Minister on September 7, 2013.
What makes this story all the more discomforting is the fact that Abbotts sexual slurs extend beyond the domain of political rivalry into policy and an outdated sense of “morality”. He has been quoted as saying that abortion is “an easy way out” for women and that women are “psychologically unsuited to leadership”. He also seemed to parade his wife and daughters in the public arena as a shield against sexist accusations, but he was also recorded as saying “Vote for me because I’m the guy with the not bad looking daughters”. He also described the suitability of one of his own female candidates based on her “sex appeal”. Cringingly, when participating in an all-girls teenage netball game, he stated “a bit of full body contact never hurt anyone”. These reports were compounded this week when Abbott announced his cabinet of 18 politicians, only one of which is female.
It seems that Australia has gone one step forward and two steps back in the battle for women’s rights and the Australian people should prepare to check and balance the “misogynistic” behaviour of their newly elected leader.