Friday, June 25, 2010

Australia's new PM is a childless/free woman


The Toronto Star has been running profiles of the G-20 leaders this week, in connection with the G-8/G-20 conferences now under way. Today's featured leader is Julia Gillard, the new prime minister of Australia, who (gasp!) is unmarried & childless -- by choice!!

Interesting article, & worth a read if you're interested in Australian politics or women in politics generally -- but here's a few excerpts that set my childless teeth on edge:

"Progressives celebrated Gillard’s selection, and her pro-choice stance, while conservatives deplored that she is Godless, husbandless and childless.

Which is nothing new.

Gillard, 48, has long been attacked by the Liberal opposition (in Australia, Liberals are the main right-wing party) for not starting a family. One Liberal senator said she was unfit for leadership because she is “deliberately barren.’’ A Liberal frontbencher claimed she couldn’t “understand the way parents think’’ because she has no children.

Even her sexual orientation has been questioned, despite former romantic links to a union official as well as a fellow politician, and her current four-year relationship to hairstylist Tim Mathieson."

QUOTE: ''Women are not breeding machines, you know.'' —Gillard’s 81-year-old father, John, on the slights his daughter has endured for being single and childless in public life.

11 comments:

  1. I love her father's quote. I didn't know anything her. Those "Liberal" attacks are horrid, though familiar. Thanks for posting this.

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  2. Way to go dad! The BS that this woman faces is angering and insulting on so many levels.

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  3. I like her, I don't hold much hope out for her in the job though.

    I do NOT in any way agree with how Kevin Rudd (her predeceser sp?) was treated and ousted from the job.

    Neither do most of the Australia public if you look at the aftermath of Thursdays events.

    Who knew my birthday would go down as an historic day?!?

    Her marital status and offspring status should be completely irrelevant, we don't judge men on their ability to do their job based on whether they are married or have children, so why her?

    And the comment of:-

    "One Liberal senator said she was unfit for leadership because she is “deliberately barren.'"

    I actually doubt that if she HAD children, she'd be where she is today.

    I wish her success but I won't be voting for her later this year and honestly I doubt alot of other people will either.

    And I think she needs to watch her back....

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  4. Whoa. Wow.

    Well, the press is cruel in a number of ways no matter what the issue.

    I had a teacher years ago say a woman would never be president because, you know, she'd be completely unreliable one week every month. Hello!

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  5. Thanks for posting this. Very interesting. In the US, our new supreme court justice nominee, Elena Kagan, is also childless and unmarried. I haven't seen any articles about it. Just some negative press comments....

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  6. Argggggg for limited minds. I also love the father's quote.

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  7. @ Miss Ruby: No idea about her brand of politics, but it seems like women of all political stripes face comments like this (still, unfortunately). I'm always fascinated by women in high places & how they got there.

    @ Colleen: I did see some articles when Kagan was first nominated about how Obama should have nominated a MOM -- because of course all these childless women on the Supreme Court just can't relate...! And of course there was all the cr@p about her being gay (after all, she's single, has short hair & was photographed playing softball...!!). I meant to write about it back then; I may still do it, since her confirmation hearings begin next week.

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  8. As the opposition leader has said, they've changed the face of the party (from Rudd to Gillard) but the party is still the same and the policies haven't changed.

    I believe a change in leader and HOW it was done will if not COST them the election, hamper their chances greatly.

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  9. Ack! Are you kidding me? Some of those comments from her opponents are unbelievable.

    Love her dad sticking up for her like that!

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  10. Good for her dad. But sadly I think the US media would freak out over such a comment.

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