Julie Bishop received a rousing response from crowds at a Future Women’s event on Tuesday night where she delivered a powerful speech about women and leadership.
Speaking to a packed room of 360 people, the former foreign minister and Liberal Party deputy leader gave a raw and honest account of her time in politics and what it is like being a woman in power.
The 62-year-old discussed everything from her appointment as the first ever Australian female minister for foreign affairs in 2013 to the leadership spill that resulted in her stepping down from one of the most powerful positions in the country.
However, it was her explanation of leadership styles that sparked the biggest response as she described women’s leadership style as transformational and men’s as transactional.
“What I mean by that, and what the research shows, is that women are more likely to be emotionally engaged with the individuals, they are more likely to be empathetic and sensitive to the needs of those individuals, to pursue professional development to achieve the goals of their team,” she explained to the audience, which included the likes of Liberal MP Julia Banks and newly elected Wentworth representative Dr Kerryn Phelps.
“Men are more likely to be driven empirically, to set tea goals. They’re less likely to focus on the individual, it’s much more punitive, less sensitive, and they set goals and judge the team and call them to account at every step.
“This research concludes that transformational leadership invokes higher morale, and leaders to longer-term elevated productivity. It leads me to conclude if you are trying to be a man, it’s a waste of a woman.”
Bishop later took to Instagram to share a photo from the event, with many followers praising her for her meaningful words and faith in female leadership.
“Please be prime minister, Ms Bishop! We need common sense policies back in Australia,” one person wrote. While another added: “Or as they say, in regards female leadership, ‘if you’re trying to be a man, then you’re setting the bar way too low’.
Back in August, the member for Curtin stepped down from her position as deputy leader of the Liberal Party and minister for foreign affairs after losing the vote for prime minster in the leadership spill that toppled Malcolm Turnbull.
While there was plenty of speculation that her time in parliament was over, the 62-year-old later confirmed to the ABC, that she will recontest her Western Australian seat of Curtin at the next federal election.
Bishop cited “overwhelming support” from her electorate for her reason and also said Australia needs stability when it comes to politics.
“I think their interests come first,” Bishop told the ABC. “It’s very much a personal decision for me, but I believe the country needs stability and continuity at present.”