Julia Gillard's Negative Media Treatment Turns Off Women to Enter Politics

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By Reissa Su | January 15, 2014 7:29 PM EST

Australian women who have political aspirations are discouraged to enter the world of politics because of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard's negative media image. According to a survey by the University of Adelaide and YWCA, 8 out of 10 women over the age of 31 were less likely to pursue a career in politics while 57 per cent of women between 18 and 21 years old were turned off by the media's treatment of Ms. Gillard.

Reuters
Julia Gillard endorsed indigenous Olympian, Nova Peris as top Labor Senatorial candidate in the Northern Territory. The announcement was made last January 21, 2013. File photo. REUTERS

Survey respondents said Ms Gillard was often criticised in public for the way she looked or dressed, usually in a demeaning way. Most of the women also remarked women in politics were being treated differently than male politicians.

However, the report acknowledged that the survey results may be biased because of respondents from the YWCA. The report's author, Blair Williams, admitted she was disillusioned herself after seeing the first female prime minister in Australia on the receiving end of negative treatment.

The report said that Ms. Gillard was treated unfairly by media "due to her gender."

Julia Gillard has broken her silence over the party leadership, sexism in politics and losing power to then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Oct. 2013 when she spoke with Anne Summers at the Sydney Opera House. It was her first interview after being ousted by Mr. Rudd. Ms Gillard threw a thinly-veiled barb at former prime minister Kevin Rudd for destabilising her government and turning against her despite being in the same party.

She said she has always worked for the Labour government to stay in power. Ms Gillard noted that it was difficult for her to accept her ouster from the party leadership which returned Kevin Rudd back in the seat of power. She has since thought it best to remain silent. 

Ms Gillard also cited the sexism in politics and said she was aware of how she was being treated. She said she chose not to react despite feeling a "murderous rage" and firmly believed there was "an underside of sexism, really ugly, violent sexism" in the country. 

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Julia Gillard endorsed indigenous Olympian, Nova Peris as top Labor Senatorial candidate in the Northern Territory. The announcement was made last January 21, 2013. File photo. REUTERS
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