Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has shared a heartfelt note she was passed on a plane by a stranger.
The woman, who signed the note off as “Kate”, wrote the note to express the impact Gillard had during her time as the first female prime minister of Australia. The leader had even inspired her to move to Canberra and work in the public service.
“You smashed that glass ceiling out of the park for so many of us,” she wrote.
Kate said she wanted to let Gillard know, without disturbing her peaceful flight, that she was a “strong, intelligent and unapologetic role model for myself and so many of my peers.”
She added that her girlfriends often use the phrase “WWJD”, borrowed from the Christian saying “What Would Jesus Do?”, to instead ask themselves “What Would Julia Do?” It inspires them to continue to push hard in their careers.
Read the full note:
Thanks to Kate, who passed this note to me on a flight recently. I didn’t get to meet you to thank you, but I really appreciate your generous words.
Gillard was ousted from her seat as prime minister in 2013 by former prime minister Kevin Rudd — who she ousted in similar circumstances in 2010. It was during a turbulent time for the Labor party, with multiple leadership battles over a short period of time.
During Gillard’s time in power, she was subjected to intense sexism and misogynistic remarks constantly by the media, the public and Opposition politicians. The attitudes culminated in her famous “misogyny speech”, in which she took Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to task for his sexist comments.
Kate said in her letter that the treatment of Gillard by her party members and the public was a great shame for the country.
“I’m so sorry about the way you were treated and even now I know it’s something the country looks back at in deep shame,” she wrote. “I hope that we learn from it and you get the apology you deserve some day.”
Gillard posted the note on her Facebook page and thanked Kate for her kind words.
“Thanks to Kate, who passed this note to me on a flight recently. I didn’t get to meet you to thank you, but I really appreciate your generous words,” Gillard wrote.
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