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‘Women should be active in government’

Julia Gillard,the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia,asked the student community on Monday to actively participate in politics because “good governance really can change lives.

Written by Deepu Sebastian Edmond | New Delhi |
September 1, 2009 3:28:29 am

Julia Gillard,the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia,asked the student community on Monday to actively participate in politics because “good governance really can change lives.”

Gillard,who is also the Australian Minister for Education,was speaking on “Women in Leadership” at the Lady Shri Ram College for Women.

“Don’t let any bad images about politics hold you back. Good government matters; women being involved in the delivery of good government matters,” she said.

Gillard chose to begin her speech by quoting from the life and work of Virginia Woolf,who had set an example for successful women by talking about herself at the National Society for Women’s Service in 1931.

Gillard also spoke on her life as a migrant from the United Kingdom who came to Australia in 1966,and worked her way up the ladder,thanks to Australia’s free university education system.

“I am going to be candid with you today. I am going to confess that this is not something that I am great at doing,” Gillard said before acquainting the listeners with the journey that saw her become president of the Australian Union of Students and a successful industrial lawyer,before she became Australia’s first woman Deputy Prime Minister. She is also the first foreign-born person to occupy the post.

Gillard said politicians,irrespective of their sex,should be primarily driven by passion for what they believe in and what changes they want to see.

“I have always believed that women can prevail in adversarial structures…. One of the things I have sought to do during my parliamentary career is to be a vigorous debater in Parliament for the things that I believe in,” she said while answering a students’ question about the difference between female and male politicians.

The Deputy Prime Minister said she was fortunate to have entered politics at a very special time,when “more and more doors were opening for women.” She,however,conceded there was a long way to go before Australia elected a woman Prime Minister,despite women constituting 50 per cent of Australian parliamentarians and 60 per cent of government employees.

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