Julie Bishop: in Vogue, and talking tough

Julie Bishop, Quentin Bryce

Julie Bishop caused a stir last year when when she said that she didn’t feel the need to declare herself as a feminist. Has she changed her mind? Not really, according to an upcoming interview. But how important is it that our most senior female politician stand up for women, or is the fight for equality everywhere for everyone the biggest issue?

In an interview to be published in the August edition of Vogue magazine, Bishop says this regarding feminism:

“As I often say, I’ve never been a man in this position, how do I compare? I see myself as a parliamentarian and a minister, I have a job to do and I put all that I have into doing it, so being a woman doesn’t a play a role in that,” she said when pressed about life as a female politician.

“I’m proud of the fact that I’m the first female Foreign Minister”.

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This doesn’t seem at all removed from what she said about feminism last year in her ‘controversial’ speech to the National Press Club last year.

“It’s not because I have some sort of pathological dislike of the term. I just don’t use it … It’s not part of my lexicon”.

“The challenge I have set for myself is to do the very best I can to make it easier for those who will follow me,” she said. “I feel that responsibility every day”.

Back then Bishop was criticised for having taken all the benefits of those that fought on the side of feminism, but refused to embrace the term.

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It’s clearly a linguistic and ideological fight she hasn’t conceded ground on.

What do you think? Is the history of the term feminism, and the battles behind it so important that Julie Bishop (or any woman for that matter) has to identify as a feminist? Or is equality in all sorts of areas the important thing to achieve, with or without a label?

Image credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade