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“Around the world women’s voices are being heard in the most unexpected ways, and we haven’t seen this kind of change, this call to action, since the suffragettes – in terms of the scale and depth of this movement.”
These were the words of Hon. Julie Bishop as she addressed a crowd of 100 women at our sun-drenched ‘Off The Record’ Garden Party in Adelaide on Saturday. Ms. Bishop, who resigned from her position as Foreign Minister after Malcolm Turnbull was ousted, opened up about her time as foreign minister and deputy leader of the Liberal Party, the state of women’s representation in politics, and those red shoes which now have their own exhibition in the Museum of Australian Democracy. (The museum has had to extend it due to an influx of fans. We’re not sure John Howard’s running suit had quite the same effect.)
“I’m not going to speculate on how long it will take for the next woman to hold a leadership position in Australia,” Ms. Bishop said, with a wink. “However, I can say that it is very disheartening to know that there are just 12 women in the Liberal Party, in the House of Representatives, who could possibly, even be eligible for leadership. That has contributed to Australia’s standing in the world rankings for female parliamentary representation falling from 15th in the world in 1997 to 50th in the world today.”
“Now we can all do something about that,” Ms. Bishop said. “And I hope as Australia’s first female Foreign Minister, I’ve done a little bit, because I wanted to ensure that I made it easier for the next woman to be the next Foreign Minister, not harder. And when I resigned from my position in August, I made sure that my successor was Senator Marise Payne. She was the obvious and most qualified person for the job but there was no guarantee she would get it. So I spoke up for her, and she will be a wonderful Foreign Minister.”
Ms. Bishop was joined by Our Watch chair, Natasha Stott Despoja – who is a former leader of the Democrats and former Ambassador for Women and Girls – and Future Women founding director, Helen McCabe, to discuss the state of politics, women’s representation in leadership positions, 12 inch heels, Doc Martins and the value of a good book.
While most will remain “off the record”, as promised, here are the facts Julie Bishop uses to argue her case for equality. We’re sure you’ll be taking them as a trusty sidekick to Christmas lunch.
“There is evidence to show that gender inequality, gender dis-empowerment, gender bias, gender discrimination and gender violence decreases economic and social growth and has a profound impact on the global economy.”
“There was a wide ranging report by McKinsey in 2015 that demonstrated of the unpaid work around the world, 75 per cent of it is done by women. And if you would put a value on it, it would add $10 trillion to global GDP.”
“There was a report by the World Bank in 2017 that showed domestic violence or gender-based violence reduced global GDP by about four per cent because of the decrease in productivity.”
“Last year, an ILO (International Labor Organisation) report found that global GDP would increase by $6 trillion if we reduced the gap between male and female participation in the workforce by just 25 per cent.”
“Finally, we all know there is a lot of evidence to show that companies that have female representatives on their board are more likely to have a better bottom line.”
Case closed. Argument won. Now, where’s the ham?
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