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Julie Bishop reveals the sexist treatment she copped in Tony Abbott’s cabinet

Tony Abbott has been rightfully copping a lot of flack lately.

Although most of this has been coming from his awful stance on same-sex marriage, it should come as no surprise that his former cabinet was tinged with misogyny.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has shared some unpleasant details about her time in the Tony Abbott Government in 2013.

Speaking at the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Women of the Future’ event in Sydney on Wednesday, Bishop explained her frustrations in being the only woman in Abbott’s cabinet.

“It was pretty lonely. I would be sitting in a cabinet with 19 men and me,” she said, adding that if she came up with an idea, it would be met with silence, but that when a man said the same thing it was “brilliant.”

In 2014, the Abbott government added Sussan Ley as Health Minister.

Today, Malcolm Turnbull’s cabinet has five women so there has been progress on this front.

As any woman working in a male-dominated sector knows, men tend to have an unconscious bias towards other males, which is what Bishop thinks made things for her so tough.

“It’s almost a deafness that we still see in Australian society,” she said.

This isn’t the first time that Abbott has been accused of misogyny.

In 2012, first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard blasted Tony in an impassioned fifteen-minute speech.

“I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man,” Gillard said. “If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn’t need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror.”

Gillard went on to give examples in which Tony mused about women’s lack of power in society not being such a bad thing and the fact that men are more suited to “issue command”.

Bishop said that when other women joined the cabinet they formed a pact and would support each other, adding that all women need to do the same in their professional lives.

“If I believed everything that was written about me, I would put the doona over my head and never get out of bed in the morning. So you’ve got to be very resilient.

“But that’s where women can support each other. And say we can do this. We can be legislators, we can be policy makers. We can be leaders,” she concluded.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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