Women, Sexism, and Politics: Does Psychology Help?

Carmen Lawrence


When Julia Gillard replaced Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister, there was, in some quarters at least, celebration that a woman had been accepted as qualified for the job; that we had no problems with a woman in the highest office in the country. Did we? We could say, could we not, that sexism was safely relegated to the past? Similar conclusions were reached when I became Premier in Western Australia it was marked, not just as a first, but as a harbinger of further change. While Gillard’s ascension and the growing numbers of women ministers, state and territory leaders, and members of parliament might encourage the perception that men and women are equally accepted in politics in Australia, other data raise questions about whether this is true.

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