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Gillard: ‘Australia biased against female leaders’

Julia Gillard Australia day
Julia Gillard had pledged that 'no school would lose a dollar'. Photo: Getty Photo: Getty
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Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called on Australians to review their “unconscious bias” towards female leaders.

Speaking at a free public lecture on Monday, Ms Gillard tackled gender equality and pay parity in her second appearance as an honorary University of Adelaide professor.

“Men and women are coming out of the same universities, going for the same jobs, [and women are] being paid four per cent less,” she said, according to The Advertiser.

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This was most apparent in studies that asked men and women to present the same business proposal — both sexes found women less “likeable”, Ms Gillard said. Although women were more likely to attend university, a pay gap prevailed.

The former PM famously decried misogyny in a speech in Parliament in 2012, which was viewed widely across the world.

During the lecture, Ms Gillard said it was vital to provide education to girls, as it boosted the “economic strength and wellbeing of the world”, according to news.com.au.

“It is morally just and right to educate girls.

“It can also be looked at through a security lens.

“There is a reason that terrorists violently target the education of girls.

“Women’s empowerment is the antithesis of their brutal ideology of subjugation and sexual slavery.”

All tickets for Ms Gillard’s lecture were snapped up within minutes, prompting the university to stream it live on the internet and to also show it on a large screen on the lawns outside.

Civil engineering student Laura Rossi described the lecture as a “real eye opener”.

“She’s been touching on a lot of topics regarding universal education and particularly education of girls in developing countries,” Ms Rossi said.

High school teacher and University of Adelaide graduate Jenny Liu said gender equity in education was also an issue in her home country of China.

Indian student Sushrut Kulkarni said major changes were needed to give women better access to professional degrees including engineering.

“I wouldn’t say they are male dominated but it still has vestiges of what it was before,” he said.

-with AAP.

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