As a twelve-year-old feminist my dream was to be Australia’s first female Prime Minister.
It was noble, I thought.
By fourteen this dream had been shattered, along with any hope of being the first Prime Minister named Julia as Gillard had done a 2-for-1 sort of package deal with my hopes and aspirations.
It was paradoxically heartbreaking. On one hand we had a woman running the joint, on the other hand I felt like I had been robbed of my future. (Yes, I was quite the drama queen).
As a young primary school and early high school student, my understanding of political policy and economics was inherently limited to the two sentence outline my teachers would provide during the two-week crash court of “government” in Human Society and Its Environment (H.S.I.E. aka, hissy, for those down with the lingo).
Naturally, this left me to be quite excited about the prospect of having a woman leading the country, to the extent that this was all that seemingly mattered.
Fast forward six years and we have opened up a can of worms that looks at the sentiment behind this: “Should feminists always vote for other women?”
Straight up my answer is no, but no answer is ever that black and white.
To answer yes would be to misinterpret feminism and what it actually stands for.
Feminism means equality of all people, and there is a degree to which women do not have equal standing to men throughout society. The glass roof, social stigma and professional treatment just to name a few.
Quite simply, feminism is about allowing women to have the choice to participate in society to the fullest extent in whichever way they would like.
So, with this in mind, I would argue that voting for a woman purely based on her gender is offensive to her achievements and credibility.
We should work to support women, help them achieve the same levels of success as their male counterparts because they have the merits that warrant it, merits that have so often been overlooked by history.
We need this to achieve equality.
But we shouldn’t say, “we want her because she’s a woman”, we should say, “we want her to lead us because of everything she has done; because her policies, attitude and experience position her to be a good leader.”
And for that, the onus is on us to be contentious voters. To look to accurately represent our community in government.
And with that there will be more women in positions of power.
So clearly there is more to politics than what I had in mind as a twelve-year-old.