It’s too soon to hand down a verdict on Julia Gillard's performance as Australia's first female prime minister, but as we're in the discovery stage, I must say I really like this woman. She's got spunk. She's won't roll over for anyone. She knows how to give as good as she gets with aplomb.
You must know by now that Gillard is 48, unmarried and as I always put it, child-free (NOT, childless). She's overcome not one but three Kilimanjaro-sized obstacles to lead her land where swashbuckling and crocodile-hunting are still in vogue. Australia is about where our wild west was in the 19th century in terms of female leadership and yet Australia is now added to the long list of nations that has produced a woman leader ahead of the United States. Australian female commentators are loving it:
…Julia Gillard is not just a woman, she’s an unmarried, childless, proudly undomesticated feminist agnostic--who also happens to be shacked up with a hairdresser. In the land of cold beer and untrammelled misogyny, this is about the worst kind of human being possible.
And this, from the Independent:
Her childless, unmarried status (she has a long-term partner) has attracted much comment, along with her hairstyle, her fashion sense and her lack of interest in cooking. Forthright, personable and formidably bright, she is considered Labor's star performer. She has spent the last two and a half years in charge of the crucial areas of education, employment and industrial relations.
Julia Gillard has even been publicly attacked by other politicians for her decision not to have children. Three years ago liberal Sen. Bill Heffernan had to apologize for saying that Gillard was unfit to be deputy prime minister because she was “deliberately barren.” According to BusinessWeek:
"You’re either working at this intense high level or you’re having kids," Gillard responded in an interview then with the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
And from the New York Times:
"There’s something in me that’s focused and single-minded," Ms. Gillard said of her decision not to marry and have children. "I’m kind of full of admiration for women who can mix it together--working and having kids--but I’m not sure I could have."
Now child-free women worldwide have someone who thinks like them leading an important democracy. Go, Julia!