Sunday, June 27, 2010

a long time coming...

it's a time to celebrate for the sisterhood - julia's prime minister... like her or not, it's groundbreaking (or should that be ceiling-shattering?!) herstory in the making here in australia - we finally have a female in the 'top job' - she's intelligent, articulate, and has a good sense of humour - she's from a working class background, is proud of her heritage and believes in social equity - she was the national president of the australian union of students, then became a solicitor with slater & gordon ("... a law firm focussed on servicing the needs of unions and their members, in particular in the area of workers compensation.") and after 3 years became a partner in the firm - it was here she earned respect from the unions as an advocate for people's rights (and still maintains their support) - she was appointed chief of staff of the victorian opposition in 1996 and moved into the federal sphere in 1998... she is a supporter of womyn's rights and is pro-choice... she's not religious, nor is she married - she is very much her own person - she certainly appears to have more going for her than any of australia's previous male prime ministers or any current challengers!!!!

but unfortunately she hasn't been voted in by the people yet, although with an election just around the corner she may just romp it in - labor's approval rating has already risen since she became pm!!!

why has it taken so long to vote in a womon? since obtaining the vote in 1902 (thanks to the committed suffragists) it took until 1921 for edith cowan to be elected to an australian parliament when she won a seat in the western australian legislative assembly...

it then took another 22 years for womyn to be elected to federal parliament when dorothy tangney became senator for western australia and enid lyons was elected to the house of representatives in 1943...

since then there have been numerous womyn elected to federal politics, but it's taken far too long for us to place a womon in 'the top job'... for a once politically progressive country, we've been lagging a tad behind in political gender equality here in australia, as this list of womyn who have attained the highest office in their respective countries attests:

Sirimavo Bandaranaike, prime minister of Sri Lanka - 1960, 1970, 1994
Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India - 1966, 1980
Golda Meir, prime minister of Israel - 1969
Isabel Peron, president of Argentina - 1974
Elisabeth Domitien, prime minister of Central African Republic - 1975
Margaret Thatcher, prime minister of Great Britain - 1979
Maria da Lourdes Pintasilgo, prime minister of Portugal - 1979
Lidia Gueiler Tejada, prime minister of Bolivia - 1979
Dame Eugenia Charles, prime minister of Dominica - 1980
Vigdis Finnbogadottir, president of Iceland - 1980
Gro Harlem Brundtland, prime minister of Norway - 1981, 1986, 1990
Milka Planinc, federal prime minister of Yugoslavia - 1982
Agatha Barbara, president of Malta - 1982
Maria Liberia-Peters, prime minister of Netherlands Antilles - 1984, 1988
Corazon Aquino, president of Philippines - 1986
Benazir Bhutto, prime minister of Pakistan - 1988, 1993
Kazimiera Danuta Prunskiene, prime minister of Lithuania - 1990
Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, prime minister of Nicaragua - 1990
Mary Robinson, president of Ireland - 1990
Ertha Pascal Trouillot, interim president of Haiti - 1990
Sabine Bergmann-Pohl, president of German Democratic Republic - 1990
Khaleda Zia, prime minister of Bangladesh - 1991, 2001
Edith Cresson, prime minister of France - 1991
Hanna Suchocka, prime minister of Poland - 1992
Kim Campbell, prime minister of Canada - 1993
Sylvie Kinigi, prime minister of Burundi - 1993
Agathe Uwilingiyimana, prime minister of Rwanda - 1993
Susanne Camelia-Romer, prime minister of Netherlands Antilles - 1993, 1998
Tansu Ciller, prime minister of Turkey - 1993
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, president of Sri Lanka - 1994
Reneta Indzhova, interim prime minister of Bulgaria - 1994
Claudette Werleigh, prime minister of Haiti - 1995
Sheikh Hasina Wajed, prime minister of Bangladesh - 1996
Mary McAleese, president of Ireland - 1997
Pamela Gordon, premier of Bermuda - 1997
Janet Jagan, prime minister of Guyana - 1997
Jenny Shipley, prime minister of New Zealand - 1997
Ruth Dreifuss, president of Switzerland - 1999
Jennifer M. Smith, prime minister of Bermuda - 1998
Helen Clark, prime minister of New Zealand - 1999
Mireya Moscoso, president of Panama - 1999
Vaira Vike-Freiberga, president of Latvia - 1999
Tarja Halonen, president of Finland - 2000
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, president of the Philippines - 2001
Mame Madior Boye, prime minister of Senegal - 2001
Megawati Sukarnoputri, president of Indonesia - 2001
Maria das Neves, Prime Minster of Sao Tome and Principe - 2002
Beatriz Merino, prime minister of Peru - 2003
Luisa Diogo, prime minister of Mozambique - 2004
Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany - 2005
Yulia Tymoshenko, prime minister of Ukraine - 2005
Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile - 2006
Micheline Calmy-Rey, president of Switzerland - 2006
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, president of Liberia - 2006
Han Myeong-sook, prime minister of South Korea - 2006
Portia Simpson Miller, prime minister of Jamaica - 2006
Pratibha Devisingh Patil, president of India - 2007
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of Argentina - 2007
Borjana Kristo, president of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzogovina - 2007
Zinaida Greceanii - prime minister of Moldova, 2008
Dalia Grybauskaite - president of Lithuania, 2009
Laura Chinchilla - president of Costa Rica, 2010
Kamla Persad Bissessar, prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, 2010
and of course Aung San Suu Kyi should have been prime minister of Myanmar in 1990, but the military government refused to recognize the results of that election!

there's a lot of herstory there - and Julia Gillard finally adds australian representation to that list - way to go sister!!!!

unfortunately all i can see is the same labor party that sold out their rank and file decades ago - once considered the left-wing alternative, it's definitely moved much further to the right these days - could julia change that? but it is scary to think what the right faction of the party might expect of her in throwing their support behind her and getting rid of one of their own!! all i can hope is that she's strong enough to not sell out for the sake of the position, and is able to maintain her leftist politics and social conscience - and her own identity... it will no doubt be an interesting political time ahead!!!

but unless there's a dramatic change in the federal political scene it will be hard to entice me to vote - perhaps the newly established and soon to be registered animal justice party  could be part of  the change i've been waiting for - unless of course julia and the labor party choose to end animal cruelty, put a stop to animal abuse and exploitation, support the universal declaration on animal welfare - and then there's social justice....


Sailor Lily said...

great blog thanks, a good biopic of Julia. Fingers and tosies crossed for her strength and integrity.

Proud Womon said...

thanks lily... definitely a strong independent womon... let's hope...

larrythelibrarian said...

viva the ranga revolution

'This is a victory for all who do not fit into the category of white, middle aged, middle class, straight (or acting), god fearing (or pretending) university educated males granted a priority pass access to power (and therefore money, control, leisure and choice) at birth.' catherine deveney