Julia Gillard, Australia’s First Female Prime Minister; Hillary Clinton, U.S Senator, Secretary of State, Presidential Nominee and Gillian Triggs, Emeritus Professor, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Three women, three leaders in their fields and three professionals personally vilified for daring to do their jobs and daring to stand up to male bullies. These women have been publically and repeatedly called slut, bitch and worse. They have been threatened with the sack, with jail, and their bodies and their personal lives have been dissected and invaded. Why?
- They were doing their job with dignity
- They stood up to male bullies
- They dared to assume leadership
‘Life is a Giant Classroom’ says media entrepreneur Arianna Huffington. These three women have given us a valuable lesson in leadership:
- You have to be twice as good as the men in your field to be considered half as good
- You can and must call out sexism
- You will need vast reserves of personal resilience
- You can move the goal posts and make a difference
- You are a role model for young women and girls.
In these dark days of toxic sexism targeting women in positions of power it’s worth listening to the words of a thoughtful leader from the distant past.
What counts is the way power is used — whether with swagger and contempt, or with prudence, discipline and magnanimity. What counts is the purpose for which power is used — whether for aggrandizement or for liberation.
– President John F Kennedy 1963