politics

"You smashed that glass ceiling." The letter to Julia Gillard we all wish we could sign.

Julia Gillard is one of the most underappreciated Prime Ministers Australia has ever been lucky enough to call our own.

She was held to different standards than the men before her, but still managed to pass legislation at a rate higher than Bob Hawke.

But it’s 12 sacred words – I will not be lectured on sexism and misogyny by this man – that capture the true cost of her leadership; emotional labour.

Watch Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech. Post continues after video. 

Gillard entered a position without a precedent set for women, and she paid the emotional price.

But now, thanks to the woman named Kate who passed Julia Gillard a note on a flight recently, our gratitude has been put into words.

Tweeting the letter on Tuesday night, Gillard wrote “Thanks to Kate, who passed this note to me on a flight recently. I didn’t get to meet you to thank you, but I really appreciate your generous words.”

The letter perfectly articulates the personal sacrifices that Gillard made as PM – throwing herself into a position that sets women up to fail.

“Dear Julia, you’ve done more than your share of emotional labour for our country already, so I won’t interrupt you during what I am sure is some rare peace and quiet,” the letter reads.

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“I want to say thank you for being such a strong, intelligent and unapologetic role model for myself and so many of my peers. Often to truly believe you can be it, you have to see it, and you smashed that glass ceiling out the park for so many of us. I’m so sorry about the way you were treated and, even now, I know it’s something the country looks back at in deep shame. I hope that we learn from it and you get the apology you deserve some day.”

The author of the letter explained the former PM inspired her to move to Canberra and pursue a life in public service .

“Watching you consistently strive forwards and fight for what you thought was right impacted upon my life at a very formative time, and I decided to move to Canberra where I now work for the public service. Working in a mostly older, conservative, male environment, my friends and I have really banded together – and when one of us is being unfairly sidelined we use the term WWJD – ‘What would Julia Gillard do?! It’s our rallying cry to be the absolute best at our jobs and shoot for the secretary of Dept. job at all times!” she wrote.

“Your work has had an impact on so many people in a bipartisan way that no other Australian politician I’ve ever seen has. I hope that people tell you this enough! As an example, and another thank you, last year after a talk you gave in Perth someone in your team said they wanted to employ a local female writer to put together the summary review. My mother, who at 65 had just followed her lifelong dream of starting her own writing business, got the gig. Someone took a chance on her, as it was her first job after years of unemployment on Centrelink, and now she has more clients and is going to be able to support herself as a writer.”

She signed the letter off with a final thank you.

The responses to the tweet echoed Kate’s sentiments, thanking Julia for her service.

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We’ll add our signatures to that.

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