Iron Ladies

07.17.133:00 PM ET

Sexism and the Prime Minister

Misogyny didn’t bring about Julia Gillard’s downfall—but it did expedite the process.

Julia Gillard, booted as the prime minister of Australia last month, had her share of political problems. But unlike male politicians, writes Rachel Hills at Stylist, she was frequently critiqued not on her policy but on her femininity. From the infamous “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail,” served at a political fundraiser, to comments on her fashion sense, to remarks that she should be “kicked to death,” the politician never got a fair shake. “Gillard’s treatment raises uncomfortable questions,” says Hills. “Not only why we still have so few female leaders, but more pertinently, where they do exist, why do we respond so emotively to them, cutting straight to the personal when the vitriol leveled at their male equivalents … is based on competence and policy.”