Woman Elected Prime Minister of Australia

by d

From TIME.com:

If you hear the faint sound of something shattering, don’t fret: Julia Gillard has just kicked through Australia’s glass ceiling.

Following the nation’s inconclusive elections on Aug. 21, Gillard finally won the support of two independent MPs on Sep. 7, giving her Labour Party the 76-74 majority in Parliament that will allow it to form a minority government. The victory makes Gillard Australia’s  first elected female Prime Minister.

via Time.com, REUTERS/Mick Tsikas

An atheist and her country’s first unmarried head of state, Gillard came to power on June 24 by ousting Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in a party coup.

“I’m well aware that I am the first woman to serve in this role,” she said at the time. “But can I say to you, I didn’t set out to crash my head on any glass ceilings.”

Regardless of her motive, Gillard joins a growing list of women who have made it to the top. This year alone voters in Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago have swept women into power, following in the footsteps of voters in Iceland, Croatia and Lithuania who did the same in 2009.

(Check out TIME’s list of the Top 10 Female Leaders to learn more about Gillard’s political sisters who are doing it for themselves.)

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/09/07/julia-gillard-joins-growing-list-of-elected-female-leaders/#WordPress#ixzz0yri9awOK

It’s great to see that being female is becoming less of an obstacle to election. I know nothing about this woman, though, so I won’t trumpet her as an individual–she could be another Palin.

But one commenter had this to point out:

Dan McCleary
TIME buries lede. New Australian PM is an atheist — much rarer than being a female head of state.

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/09/07/julia-gillard-joins-growing-list-of-elected-female-leaders/#WordPress#ixzz0yriSQvh0

He’s absolutely right–atheists are almost unheard of in the upper crust of elected government, particularly in America. Here, saying you’re an atheist is like saying you’re from Mars, and a communist terrorist who gnaws on babies while listening to NPR. Perhaps TIME thinks they’re doing her a favor by not highlighting that fact.

She’s also remarkable for being unmarried. Marriage is usually seen as a sign of stability, we like to know that our leaders are able to maintain their personal lives as well as lead a nation. Marriage requires that another person think said leader is worth keeping around for years on end, so it does indicate something… On the other hand, there’s always a new political scandal about someone cheating on their spouse. So marriage alone really shouldn’t count as an automatic plus for a politician. Rather, we want to see happy, stable, loving relationships.

And if someone doesn’t marry, we shouldn’t necessarily hold it against them. There are many reasons people don’t marry–chance, poor decisions, or the choice specifically not to marry. Maybe she prefers her life this way; if so, bully for her.

It’s good that such an atypical candidate has risen in power via an election. The glass ceiling (as well as a bunch of others) continues to weaken. Kudos.

3 Comments to “Woman Elected Prime Minister of Australia”

  1. WOOHOO! I agree, I don’t know anything about this woman or her individual politics, so I can’t say anything about that. But the fact that she is a woman who shattered the glass ceiling in Australia to become the first female Prime Minister, who is also an unmarried atheist (which probably DOES make it even more remarkable, three major strikes against her and she STILL made it) is freaking awesome and something to be celebrated. That said, I really HOPE she is NOT another Palin. Don’t scare me like that, D, you’ll give me an early heart attack. -_-;

    Also, I read something not too long ago about how women are more likely to succeed if they are unmarried and childless, but especially childless. I will try to find that again, I’m sure I have it on a bookmarks site. I believe there were at least one or two articles on it that I saved that same day, in fact. So, perhaps being unmarried wasn’t necessarily a strike against her the way it would be for a male politician.

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