Then it was done. After staying silent, I’d had my say. At no time did I feel worked up or hotly angry. I felt strong, measured, controlled. Yet emotion did play its role in the energy of the speech. The frustration that sexism and misogyny could still be so bad in the twenty-first century. The toll of not pointing it out.
On 9 October 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard stood up and proceeded to make all present in Parliament House that day pay attention - and left many of them squirming in their seats. The incisive ‘misogyny speech', as her words came to be known, challenged not only Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, on his words and actions but, over time, all of us. How had we come to condone the public and private behaviours of some very public men?
With contributions from Mary Beard, Jess Hill, Jennifer Palmieri, Katharine Murphy and members of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, Julia Gillard explores the history and culture of misogyny, tools in the patriarchy’s toolbox, intersectionality, and gender and misogyny in the media and politics.
Kathy Lette looks at how the speech has gained a new life on TikTok, as well as inspiring other tributes and hand-made products, and we hear recollections from Wayne Swan, Anne Summers, Deborah Mailman, Cate Blanchett, Brittany Higgins and more on where they were, and how they first encountered the speech.
While behaviours may have improved since the misogyny speech, there remains a way to go and Julia Gillard explores the roadmap for the future with next-generation feminists Sally Scales, Chanel Contos and Caitlin Figueiredo to motivate us with that rallying cry: Not now, not ever!
Proceeds from the book will go to the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (GIWL).