Julia Gillard’s “misogyny” speech: still a remarkable example of resilience

Julia Gillard's misogyny speech voted 'most unforgettable' moment in Australian TV history

Image: The Guardian

A few weeks’ ago Julia Gillard’s famous “misogyny” speech went  viral on Tik Tok (thanks Faun Hub) and I cheered - one of my favourite speeches and moments in Australian history was once again circulating the internet. 

I must have listened to this speech over 20 times. Because of my previous job (writing many speeches for executives), I have studied, read and listened to countless speeches. It still get goosebumps when I watch this speech. 

Barack Obama’s staff used to watch too, according to an interview with one of his senior advisors and speechwriters last week

When reflecting on this speech, Gillard explains it wasn’t a thought-through strategy with a wonderfully chiseled speech, it welled up. 

“Looking back, I think it was driven by a deep frustration that after every sexist thing directed at me that I’d bitten my lip on, now I was going to be accused of sexism - the unfairness of that. That anger propelled it”, she told Harvard Business Review last year.

In this speech Gillard was taking back control, showing the Leader of the Opposition and indeed, all her criticisers that they had overstepped her boundaries with their sexist and deeply personal remarks (which I won’t repeat here, they are so abhorrent).

Gillard’s delivery, from her words, body language and tone of voice is an outstanding example of resilience. 

Some of my tips on how to improve your boundaries:

  1. Be clear on what you stand for and use that as a guide. Your life’s purpose (or your values) should be your compass guiding you to determine what you will and won’t do; and when you will say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
  2. Improve your own self worth, or be confident in your own worth and when someone oversteps the mark, (gently and calmly) let them know. You can improve your own self worth quickly and easily by doing things like meditation and affirmations. If you have a good sense of self worth, you’ll easily spot when someone has overstepped your personal boundaries. 
  3. Manage your time and energy. Rather than spending your time (our most precious commodity) on things that don’t fulfil you or feel good, simply say “no thanks” and spend the time on things that restore and revitalise your energy. This is really important for working Mums - many of those who I meet are stretched so thin and doing things that they don’t enjoy or aren’t passionate about. 
  4. Set boundaries with difficult people by setting the ‘rules of engagement’. If a friend or family member is insist on catching up every weekend and that’s too much for you, you can ask to see them once a month and be consistent about following up on that agreement. They should soon follow your lead. Just make sure you are clear on what you’d like the rules of engagement to be before having any conversation.
  5. Unlike, unfollow, unsubscribe. Also set boundaries by un-following or un-liking any social media feeds that don’t make you feel good about yourself. What you choose to consume online is a reflection of your personal boundaries.

By setting your boundaries and being clear about them, you take back control and are being a more resilient person. 

If you’re a working Mum and would like to talk about setting boundaries or building your resilience, please get in touch, we love to chat!