Gender and Politics in the media

AU: PM’s losing ways with women, A volley savoured around the earth

The Australian Labor government and the “sexism” debate World Socialist Web Site Official Australian politics has been dominated this week by a highly orchestrated campaign over “sexism”, waged by the minority government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, in a desperate bid to claw back support in the lead up to an election due next year. Unable to address the real reasons for the widespread public hostility to her government—its savage austerity measures, attacks on basic democratic rights and militarism—Gillard is targeting Liberal Party opposition leader Tony Abbott as a man who has a “problem with women”.

PM’s losing ways with women The Australian (Login required) WHEN British academic Sarah Childs (W&P member – KW) devoted part of her politics class at Bristol University yesterday to showing the now-famous video clip of Julia Gillard accusing Tony Abbott of misogyny, the students were fascinated and deeply divided. “The women were really impressed by her performance but the men did not like it at all,” said Professor Childs, who has spent 15 years studying gender in politics….The other thing that struck the British students was the vast gulf between Mr Abbott’s portrayal as a sexist throwback to the 1950s and the sensitive, “new-age metropolitan dad” image of their own Conservative leader, Prime Minister David Cameron.

Photo: Andrew Meares

A volley savoured around the earth The Canberra Times Julia Gillard went impressively ballistic on Coalition misogyny this week. Her words echoed around the world, someone even suggesting that Barack Obama adopt her ”I’m not gonna cop this any more” style to his encounters with Mitt Romney. A decade hence, indeed, it may be the moment for which she is most remembered, abroad as well as here. Not a word was wasted. It was sharply focused at Tony Abbott but contained sentences that other women may well remember and repeat, long after Abbott, his taunts, or even the broad environment that prompted the response are forgotten. The historic footage will not include the provoking words; instead they will show him squirming guiltily and uncomfortably.

Julia Gillard’s attack on sexism hailed as turning point for Australian women The Guardian When Australia‘s prime minister, Julia Gillard, told the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, this week that if he wanted to know what misogyny looked like he should pick up a mirror, it was seen by many women as a defining moment for feminism in the country. “I almost had shivers down my spine,” said Sara Charlesworth, an associate professor at the University of South Australia. “I was so relieved that she had actually named what was happening. She was so angry, so coherent and able to register that enough is enough.”

Gillard lets slip her chance to lead The Australian Financial Review Julia Gillard this week did her own political version of Helen Reddy’s feminist movement anthem “I am woman, hear me roar”. In doing so, she reversed the old adage “actions speak louder then words”. Gillard spoke with such passion and, at times, venom about Tony Abbott’s attitude to women that a whole lot of people who should have known better ignored the fact that she missed arguably the best chance of her prime ministership to appeal to the whole electorate rather than excite her feminist support base.

Newsmakers of the week Who’s the sexist-est of them all? The Speaker in Australia’s House of Representatives eventually resigned after the emergence of sexist and profane text messages—the c-word was involved. But first, the House was witness to a remarkable display from PM Julia Gillard. After Tony Abbott, the opposition leader, declared that Gillard had failed by selecting Peter Slipper as Speaker, the first female prime minister in Australian history stood in the House and launched a blistering 15-minute attack on Abbott, accusing him and his side of sexism and misogyny.

Tony Abbott is not a misogynist, says Bronwyn Bishop The Manly Daily TONY Abbott is not a misogynist and the Prime Minister has demeaned every woman in parliament by “pretending to be a victim”, says Mackellar MP Bronwyn Bishop. The Federal Liberal MP’s comments come after Julia Gillard accused the Opposition Leader of being sexist and a misogynist in parliament on Wednesday. Ms Gillard’s speech, which saw Mr Abbott “carved to pieces”, has become a worldwide internet sensation.

So, is Tony Abbot, the leader of the Australian opposition, a sexist? The Independent On 9 October, a speech by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard went viral. Gillard accused the Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott of hypocrisy, and said she hoped ‘the Leader of the Opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation’. These were strong words. Across the globe, Gillard was praised for tackling an issue which has become a recurrent theme in Australian politics and took on a new dimension when Abbott became leader of the Liberal party in 2009.

Gillard’s hypocrisy stripped bare by her defence of demonstrable misogyny The Australian (Login required) WHILE Labor wages its gender war, the simple, ugly truth is that if Tony Abbott had not moved his motion to dismiss the Speaker then Peter Slipper would still hold the job. He would be taking more than $300,000 annually, plus perks, and would now be leading a two-week parliamentary delegation to Canada and Argentina.

Bishop demands PM apologise The Age Australia’s most senior female Liberal has accused Julia Gillard of using her gender as a shield against criticism and demanded the Prime Minister apologise “to the women in Tony Abbott’s life who love him”. In a week where sexism was the dominant theme in federal parliament, deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop today renewed her spirited defence against Labor’s claims that Tony Abbott was a misogynist.

Grubby attempts to smear Tony Abbott as a hater will leave Labor base … The Australian (Login required) IN political terms, this last week of parliament could prove to be a turning point, when a fundamental shift in voters’ attitudes towards political leaders and parties determines the conduct and ultimately the outcome of election year 2013. In the debate there has been a concentration on attitudes towards women, sexism, misogyny and how feisty Julia Gillard is when she’s angry, because this is meant to magnify Tony Abbott’s problem with women and appeal to part of Labor’s traditional base.

Words that millions of women have rehearsed, yet never spoken Sydney Morning Herald Ah, the gender card. It’s a funny old phrase isn’t it? You won’t find it in any dictionaries but we all know what it means: a trick women use to get out of detention, by vowing they are being criticised not because they performed poorly, but because their critics are sexist. You’re just acting the victim, women have been told for decades when speaking about vile remarks, sexual approaches, or differential treatment. You should toughen up, take it on the chin, or accept it as a part of life. Or as Julia Gillard was advised repeatedly this week, turn the other cheek. Because that’s what politicians do, right? Accept criticism silently.


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