Women of Australia Rejoice
A Notion by Kathryn Crosby
Women of Australia rejoice! We are no longer led by a man.
It was really was quite something to see Australia’s first woman Prime Minister being sworn in by our first woman Governor General. A fleeting moment but an important one in our history.
It is a day to be proud of, regardless of what you think of how she came to be there or your political persuasion. A woman in the top job is an impressive step forward for Australian women.
Think about this for a moment: If you are in Sydney, your entire leadership lineage is now female. Your Lord Mayor and State member is Clover Moore, your Premier is Kristina Keneally, your Governor is Marie Bashir, your federal member is Tanya Plibersek, your Prime Minister is Julia Gillard, your Governor General is Quentin Bryce, and at the top of it all is the Queen.
How’s that for women in leadership?
We could rejoice about this because we’re sick of being led by egotistical men who are more concerned with looking strong than doing what is right. That of course would be unfair on men generally, but that is what some will be thinking.
We could rejoice about the opportunity for Julia to blaze the path and demonstrate that women are by some virtue of sex more inclusive and compassionate leaders. Not sure I’m sure women are all due such credit, but that is what some will be thinking.
The real cause to rejoice is the symbolism of it all. The milestone passed of having Prime Minister crossed off the ‘first woman’ list.
Hardened older women like me are not going to suddenly think that their career paths will be made easier because Julia’s PM: but little girls in class rooms everywhere saw her being sworn in today.
And while such milestones are important, it is equally important to remember we still have a long way to go.
Julia Gillard being elected PM won’t stop, for example, constant references to her hair and clothes. It won’t stop exploitation of women and unequal pay. It won’t stop domestic abuse against women, underfunding of women’s health or certain people in our community thinking the country is going to hell in a hand basket simply because the PM is female.
Nonetheless, this milestone is important because of the impact it has on our daughters.
For little Australian girls everywhere there is now no job in the country they can’t do. If a woman can run the country, then a woman can do anything. After today, Australian girls everywhere are that much more empowered to reach for the stars.