Gillard delighted key speech is TikTok hit

·2-min read

Former prime minister Julia Gillard says she's delighted that her iconic misogyny speech in parliament has become a TikTok hit.

Ms Gillard fired off the speech on the floor of the house in response to criticism from Tony Abbott, more than eight years ago.

"I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man," she said.

"Because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn't need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror."

Years later, Ms Gillard is surprised but pleased that hundreds of thousands of people are still listening to those words on the video-sharing platform TikTok.

Dozens of videos feature young women miming her words as they put on makeup and get ready to go out.

"I think that speech has come to connect what what is a very optimistic age," she said on Thursday in a keynote address at the Australian Open.

Ms Gillard said her speech had taken on a new life for young women refusing to put up with gender inequality.

"It's become a battle anthem for them as they go out to reshape the world," she said.

"They look at us with a sense of impatience; why didn't we get more done, we're over this?"

The first female prime minister in Australia, Ms Gillard delivered the speech following months of commentary focused on her appearance and gender.

At the time it was panned by the media as hypocritical, but after a strong public reaction it even prompted the Macquarie Dictionary to update its definition of misogyny.

Ms Gillard says she's surprised people are still talking about the speech eight years on.

"I would have said that can't possibly be right, that's ridiculous, and yet here we are," she said.

She warned the audience that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women, especially healthcare workers.

"This recession is disproportionately about women's work," she said.