Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard urged Democrat forerunner Hillary Clinton to “call out” the sexist attacks against her early in her presidential race, lest the attacks will worsen, according to the news.
“If anything happens that is sexist, you’ve got to call it out early rather than thinking it will all normalize itself and just go away by itself,” Gillard said when asked for an advice, if any, for Clinton.
“If you allow that to happen, by the time it is seriously in contest, it will be when something else is controversial and it will be hard to divide what is the usual political controversy about a big policy idea versus what is this gendered bit,” Gillard added.
Gillard also elaborated on the “baggage of assumptions of a previous age,” which could saddle women and young girls.
“Still somewhere in our brains is whispering the stereotype that says if a woman is leading, if she’s commanding then she’s probably given up on the female traits of nurturing and empathy, she’s probably pretty hardboiled, she’s probably pretty ruthless, she’s not very likeable, I bet she’s a bit of a bitch,” Gillard remarked.
“Until we can shed that stereotype that likeability and women and leadership don’t go together, we’ll be putting baggage on the women leaders who do emerge,” she said further.
The sexist attacks are a global question and some of it are obvious during the Clinton campaign, according to Gillard.
Gillard shared in a speech delivered during the Fortune Most Powerful Women summit in London how she handled misogynist and sexist attacks, saying she did not “directly address it soon enough” as she “went along and did the job.”
According to the former prime minister, reactions on gender escalated because it became “a convenient cudgel of criticism” when one wanted to criticize the government.
“Instead of . . . policy dialogue it degenerated into ‘ditch the bitch’ and ‘ditch the witch,’” Sydney Morning Herald quoted Gillard as saying.