Throughout the years, there has been a lot of pressure on female politicians all over the world. Constantly faced with a sexist, traditionally patriarchal environment, ladies have never had an easy job of politics, constantly being subjected to expectations different than a man in the same position. An upcoming book delves into the shocking experiences of female politicians in Australia.
About Australian politician Kate Ellis
The future book from former Australian federal minister Kate Ellis looks to explore just that – the lives and struggles that female politicians have had to deal with in Australia.
Kate Ellis, who retired from Parliament in 2019 ito spend more time with her two young sons, wrote the book out of a desire to shine a light on what it’s like being a woman in politics in her native country. To prepare for the book, Ellis interviewed leading female figures in Australian politics, including Pauline Hanson, Sarah Hanson-Young, Julie Bishop, Penny Wong, Julia Gillard, and Natasha Stott Despoja.
In their interviews, Ellis explains to The Sydney Morning Herald (link above) that these women broke down in tears during their interviews, describing the demeaning and shameful abuse they suffered in their careers. This abuse did not only come from their male colleagues, but also from the press and the public.
“Focus on physical appearance is much greater for women, focus on their private lives, motherhood … slut-shaming, personal attacks,” Ellis said to the Herald.
Her book will include descriptions of various cruel slogans and jibes aimed at female politicians in Australia that also likely happen elsewhere. These words speak loudly to the existance of sexism, and the remarks have very little to do with the women’s political skills.
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The sexism faced by female politicians in Australia
In her discussion with The Sydney Morning Herald, Kate Ellis spoke of various taunts and cruel campaigns led against Australia’s first female prime minister, Julia Gillard. The sexist remarks included, “ditch the witch” and being called “Bob Brown’s bitch.”
Ellis also detailed her own extensive experience in Australian politics. She was a Member of the Australian House of Representatives for 15 years, from 2004 through to 2019.
According to the Herald interview, Ellis hopes that her book will give young women faith and the courage to enter politics with the determination that they can change things for the better. But, these future female politicians in Australia must also have a realistic outlook on what treatment they can expect to receive in those roles.
The ultimate goal of the book
As Ellis explained in her interview, she wants her book to explore the side of Australian politics that does not get the attention, and she wants more female politicians in Australia to start to come forward about how they have been unfairly treated. The hope is that they will share advice and start to create awareness that brings about changes toward gender equality.
As for why sexism continues against those women who hold a political position in the land Down Under, sadly it could be that it has become normalized to a certain extent. Perhaps the ultimate reason for it is that the powerful women are seen as threatening.
But women shouldn’t have to deal with that toxic environment. And knowing about the issues could put many future female politicians in Australia off of their dreams and have them avoiding taking any positions in the political realm. That is the risk, for sure, but the potential danger of not doing anything poses a much bigger issue as it would mean that sexism is okay – and it most definitely is not.
The title of Kate Ellis’ book has not been announced yet, and neither has the lanuch date. Based on the shocking statements that will publish within it, this read will certainly be a trailblazing one.