Women in charge in Australia

(L to R) Julie Collins, Kate Ellis, Nicola Roxon, Julia Gillard, Quentin Bryce, Jenny Macklin and Tanya Plibersek after the swearing in. (AAP: Tracy Nearmy)

Watching Julia Gillard being sworn in as Australia’s first female prime minister by Quentin Bryce, Australia’s first female Governor-General, I realised there were more. I live in NSW, which has a female Premier, and female Governor, and I work in the financial services industry where Australia’s biggest bank is run by a woman.

While I fear that Julia Gillard is in danger of succumbing to glass cliff syndrome (put a woman in charge when it is clear that leadership is a poisoned chalice) like many before her, I couldn’t help feeling a small frisson of pleasure at how far women have come in this country.

As an actuary, I’m used to it of course – the CEO and President of the institute of actuaries are also women.

  2 comments for “Women in charge in Australia

  1. JenniferV
    June 25, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Me too! But, a bit oddly, I find myself reluctant to impart that sense of occasion to my daughters (aged 6 and 4). I want THEM to think that it’s no big deal that a woman is Prime Minister. The elder’s school principal is a woman. Their dad’s boss is a woman. Women hold positions of power in their world as a matter of everyday fact, and I like it that way.

    I told them that we had a new Prime Minister today and that her name is Julia Gillard. I told them that the other woman in the picture in the paper is the Governor-General. But I didn’t tell them that they were both the first of their kind.

    • June 27, 2010 at 8:45 pm

      Interesting. I didn’t point out that aspect to the boys either. And they didn’t seem to notice it being a big deal, so maybe in a generation or two it won’t be!

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