"It wasn't funny or smart." The day Liberal MP Karen Andrews walked out of a party meeting.

Liberal MP Karen Andrews has shared that she left a meeting in disgust, when a male stakeholder made a gesture that he was going to remove his pants… in the meeting.

The admission, made on an all female episode of ABC’s Q&A to celebrate International Women’s Day, left the show’s host journalist Annabel Crabb speechless.

Ms Crabb had already heard the story in an interview the week before, and asked Ms Andrews to repeat it on the panel; “You mentioned in the past week, the more senior you get the worse you’re treated?” she prompted.

For International Women’s Day we made this…have a watch. Post continues after video.

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“A male in the meeting thought it was appropriate for him to make gestures as if he was going to remove his trousers.

“And at that point, I called it as inappropriate behaviour, and I left the meeting,” explained Ms Andrews.

Ms Andrews thinks the reason the behaviour arose was perhaps because the man in question didn’t know how to deal with a woman in power.

“The behaviour needed to be called, it wasn’t funny, it wasn’t smart, and women need to call it out when and as it happens. I needed to act, and I did,” she said.

The man sent Ms Andrews a written apology the next day.

Ms Andrews went on to agree with Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young that they needed an all-party women’s caucus in federal parliament.

Does the Liberal party have a women problem? Podcast continues after podcast.

She suggested creating an induction for new women coming into politics, to help retain them.

“We want them to succeed, and if that means women have to get together to work together..”

The panel went on to discuss the fact that even the chairs in parliament are built purely for men (they are often too tall for women, who are left with their legs dangling in the air) and that up until a few years ago, school holidays sat right in the middle of sitting weeks.


The panel also touched on Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s misogynistic International Women’s Day speech, condemning his ‘clunky’ wording.

Ms Andrews however, did say she has found Mr Morrison very supportive of women in the party room.

Senator Hanson Young’s retort however was; “I think it says everything about his misunderstanding of what is at the heart of the struggle of inequality.

“What he said was, ‘yeah you can be equal, just not as equal as men,'” said Ms Hanson-Young.

At the end of the hour, Ms Andrews shared another troubling insight into the reality of being a woman in the workplace – and in parliament. Specifically, the role of men mentoring women was brought up.

“I would discourage a male in the current environment from taking on one-on-one mentoring, I would have to say,” said Ms Andrews.

“I think… be careful of that environment. I would discourage it, in a lot of circumstances.

” [If you were to do it] you would do it in an open place like a coffee shop, you would do it somewhere else, where there were other people around, not in an environment that was just two people,” she said.

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