Julie Bishop was raised on a South Australian cherry farm. She grew up and studied hard, eventually graduating with a Law degree.
She worked her way up through the ranks of a couple of law firms (notably Clayton Utz where she attained managing partnership) before entering federal politics.
She is currently the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. The first female to ever hold that title and only the third to ever hold the title of Deputy Leader of the Opposition. She is also the current Minister for Forgein Affairs. She is the only female member of Cabinet. Her list of achievements and political portfolios held is far too long to list here.
So it was disappointing as hell to read that feminism was not “part of her lexicon”, as well as a few other choice comments.
Jane Caro tweeted about how claiming not to be a feminist while reaping the rewards of feminism was pretty crappy (I may be paraphrasing a little) and she is absolutely bloody right.
The thing is, “feminism” ISN’T a dirty word. Feminism really is what got Julie Bishop where she is today. Obviously she also worked hard to achieve her goals, but without feminism, that wouldn’t have been enough.
Take her legal qualifications- in the early 1900’s it took years of campaigning by feminists to have law degrees earned by women recognised and for them to be allowed to practice. While such things as the Gender Pay Gap exist, while women are still subject to alarming rates of intimate partner violence and the subsequent injury, disability, homelessness, trauma and even death that come from it and while women experience barriers to equality in social and economic settings, we still need feminism.
It must be so easy to sit at the top of your game and disregard it- but I think that’s a slap in the face to every sacrifice made, every struggle and every battle won that allowed you to get where you are.
The Minister Assisting the Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, was quoted back in March as saying:
“I believe in gender equality and if you want to label me as a feminist go ahead and do it. But certainly, labelling myself as a feminist, if that is a prerequisite now for being a Minister for Women, that’s ridiculous.”
But it’s not ridiculous. If you believe in gender equality, then you must acknowledge that we don’t have it.
If you acknowledge that, you’ll see that they way to make the genders equal is to give women the same rights, benefits and opportunities that men already enjoy.
It may not be written into the job description for being a Minister for Women, but it bloody well should be.
Otherwise, we’d have a Minister for Women ignoring the inequalities and disadvantages faced by women. And what would the point of that be? …Oh…wait…