It's a bit difficult to take seriously the claim of the most powerful person in the country to be a victim of discrimination, particularly on the basis of her sex given that the other most powerful person in the country, the Governor-General, is also a woman. If you are given such great power and responsibility then it's time to give up the luxury of imagining yourself to have victim status.
It's also unfortunate that politics is becoming ever more polarised on the basis of sex. The men and women of a nation are supposed to identify with each other not against each other. But we seem to be drifting ever more into a politics of men versus women. Just consider this morning's Herald Sun column by Susie O'Brien. Her argument is that Gillard, as a woman, should be ruling on behalf of women, otherwise she is useless:
Women like the fact that a female is in power, but until now they haven't seen just what this can mean for them at a personal level.
Until now, Gillard's had the key to the sports car, but she hasn't taken it for a spin.
As I wrote earlier this week, unless a woman is standing up for other women and doing things that help women, there's not much point her being in a position of power.
Take a moment to digest what Susie O'Brien has written here. First, there's an assumption that Gillard has only done things for women "at a personal level" when she's launched into an attack on men. Second, there's an assumption that the only point of Gillard being in power is if she governs for women rather than for the nation as a whole.
The irony is that the aim of a liberal society is to make our sex not matter and yet we end up with a society polarised on the basis of sex. That's not a coincidence. The progression of liberal thought goes something like this:
a) Our sex shouldn't matter in what we do, therefore men and women should be doing the same things
b) But men and women don't do the same things
c) This must be because men have discriminated against women for their own advantage
d) So women are an oppressed class and must fight together against men to end discrimination, sexism etc
It ends up with the idea of a great moral cause in which the women of a country are set permanently against the men of a country. And when men cotton on to the fact that women are identifying against them, it becomes that much harder to make the sacrifices that men have traditionally made for women, for family and for nation.
So the pattern of liberal thought has to be broken. And it's best to do this at the very start of the train of liberal thought. If we can accept that our sex does at times matter in what we do, then we can accept differences in social roles and focus more on making differentiated roles work together for the good of the whole community.