Sydney, Oct. 10: Australia’s first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been accused of using her gender as a ‘shield’ and setting back the cause of women after describing opposition leader Tony Abbott as sexist.
Gillard has won international acclaim for her 15-minute attack on Abbott, but the speech only added to an increasingly heated debate about sexism in Australian politics.
The opposition’s most senior woman, Julie Bishop, the deputy Liberal party leader, said Gillard was using gender to protect herself from attacks on her performance as prime minister, the Telegraph reports.
“The prime minister is setting back the cause of women decades by using sexism as a shield against criticisms of her performance,” she said.
“She’s using the charge of sexism and misogyny as a weapon against her critics… Instead of being remembered as Australia’s first female prime minister, she’ll be remembered as the prime minister who let down the women of Australia,” Bishop added.
According to the report, Gillard’s speech went viral on the Internet and followed weeks of debate over Abbott’s attitude towards women.
One US website described her as a ‘badass’, while the New Yorker suggested President Barack Obama could take a lesson from her ability to “cut through the disingenuousness and feigned moral outrage of her opponent”, the report added. (ANI)