During an interview with a nationally-syndicated US public radio program, Ms Gillard criticised the “subtle but significant difference” in attitudes towards female leaders such as herself and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“I think for men that conversation starts with what kind of leader will he be? Strong, weak, compassionate, strident,” she told the Diana Rehm Show.
“I think for women, it starts with ‘can she lead?’ And it’s a subtle but significant difference. We have talked about those things, Hillary and I. I have had the opportunity to talk to some other leading women around the world about them.”
Speaking on the day she delivered her now famous misogyny speech, she said sexism was already on the agenda.
“I think just for me, the sense that after everything that I as the first woman prime minister had seen happen around me about gender and to me in that position, I was not going to stand there and get lectured about sexism,” she said.
“That frustration, even anger, shows in that speech.”
She said politics is a “tough, tough place” and while she first ignored sexism, she increasingly felt she needed to “shine a light” on the issue.
Her comments follow those made by Ms Clinton, who has spoken out against the “outrageous sexism” that Ms Gillard faced.
In an interview with ABC television last week, Ms Clinton said there was no place for sexism in politics, adding that politicians should be holding themselves to a higher standard.
“I don’t have a problem with anybody – man or woman – contesting anyone’s position, anyone’s policy, taking a person to account,” she said.
“But doing so in a way that I thought depersonalised the very personal, that demeaned, just didn’t seem to fit the Australia that I have come to know.”
Ms Clinton also addressed the issue in her book “Hard Choices”, where she detailed he “unfair double standard” women in public life face.
Julia Gillard’s ‘misogyny speech’