It is almost ten years since Julia Gillard delivered her famous misogyny speech in Parliament in response to a motion moved by the then leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott.
Yet, our woman-hating culture persists.
In fact, Australia’s misogyny problem is getting bigger. Domestic violence rates are increasing, female homelessness is at epidemic levels, and girls subjected to sex trade violence – amplified via the mega-industries of pornography and prostitution – are reporting these harms younger and younger.
In case this wasn’t enough, women are now caught in a race to restore their most basic protections – those specifically intended to counter the discrimination and vulnerabilities women and girls face on the basis of their sex.
With sad irony, we are here partly because of amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 made by the Gillard government in 2013. These changes removed, without broad consultation, biological definitions of the terms ‘woman’ and ‘man’ altogether, and added a person’s self-declared ‘gender identity’– irrespective of biological sex – as a prohibited reason for unfair treatment.
It is in part why today, women who object to males in their bathrooms and changing facilities, refuges, sports, prisons, and crisis services, can be so readily accused of bigotry, rather than more accurately described as reasonably self-protective.
This has fed and fortified a culture that enables abusive men and silences their victims. It has also inspired a climate in which male perpetrators appear to not only be let off the hook for their crimes, but to be venerated as symbols of progressive politics simply because they have decided to ‘identify’ as a woman.
Most recently, this hypocrisy has been on vivid display on the platforms of Australian mainstream media outlets, which have been busy exalting former AFL player, coach, and domestic violence accused. Dani Laidley (formerly Dean Laidley), who now identifies as a woman, pleaded guilty to stalking his ex-partner in 2020.
But it is not just the media afflicted by these misogynistic double standards. At an AFL grand final event last week, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese posted a celebratory photo of himself standing beside Laidley on Twitter.
Given the reactions to his Twitter post from hundreds of women aghast at such a shocking display of misogyny, his advisers must surely know by now.