The Leadership Lessons


Get optimistic but be aware: Julia Gillard

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has seen the best and worst of leadership -- and felt personally how women are treated at the top.

She says we need so many more women at the top, but urges those chasing such ambitions to stay optimistic, but also be aware of what's ahead as "Sexism and its manifestations are universal.”

In this chat with Kate Mills, she also shares what's she's learnt from other political leaders including Theresa May, Hillary Clinton, Jacinda Ardern, Erna Solberg, Michelle Bachalet and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

These women come from all around the world, some well known in the West, and some not. But what is revealed, is that despite some key differences in their situations– for example, Bachelet, who served as the President of Chile, was imprisoned and tortured under the Pinochet regime – there was so much about their lived experiences that was similar.

“There was a great deal of focus on appearance, on family structures, a sense that they were on a tightrope – if they came across as too strong, too tough, people would react adversely to that. But if they came across as too caring, too nurturing, people who go ‘she’s far too weak to lead the country’,” Gillard says.

During the pandemic, Gillard says we have seen a lot of the “strongman style of leadership”. Blustering leadership, she called it, where leaders don’t care about the facts and will happily claim that black is white, and pink is purple.

This is the first episode in The Leadership Lessons, a podcast created by the team at Women's Agenda and Agenda Media, and supported by Salesforce.

Women's Agenda is proud to partner with Salesforce on this podcast series. As the world’s leading CRM company, Salesforce continues to be a different kind of Fortune 500 company — one that cares and give backs to the community, yet innovates like a startup. Equality is a core value at Salesforce, and as a business, believes that its higher purpose is to drive equality for all. 

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