Why is Hillary Clinton’s run for US Presidency any more relevant to the financial futures of Australian women, than having Julia Gillard as Australia’s first and so far only female prime minister six years ago?
The answers: Timing, hype and confidence.
Over the years, women have celebrated tastes of what it feels like to equal the playing field with men, be that financially or in leadership.
Right now, those moments, including the Gillard era and regardless of your politicial tendencies here, are adding up and generating a groundswell of support for women at a time of weakness in the global economy.
There is recognition among senior leaders globally that if you boost productivity by mobilising more women financially then you can boost business and with it economic growth.
Yes there are still many challenges, many, including the need to narrow the gender pay gap.
But they are regularly being talked about across social media, and are being championed by the Hillary Clinton presidential hype. Here’s a taste of that.
When Julia Gillard became Australia’s first female prime minister during the global financial crisis of 2010, she was heavily criticised for not winning it on her own, and then when she did win at the election later that year, many people still couldn’t get over how she came to be there in the first place.
Let’s not forget, she was there because she had built up a career aimed at getting there and the timing was right for her. But perhaps not right for Australian women as key issues were overthrown by economic turmoil.
Economic promises of a return to surplus hurt Gillard’s rein, as did the bubbling rivalry of former PM Kevin Rudd, who subsequently mounted a comeback to take the prime ministership.
This week Hillary Clinton made history by becoming the first woman ever to secure the US Democratic Party nomination and potentially the first female President after 44 male successors.
It’s also a big deal because the US is still seen as the world’s most powerful economy and Hillary has dealt with many obstacles from losing to Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic nomination, and who can forget the Monica Lewinsky sex-scandal that husband bill “did not have.”
Hillary’s rise to the top comes at an unprecedented time of change for women on the financial front, with 40 per cent of Australian households now with women as the main breadwinner.
Women are also starting small businesses at a faster rate than men, and record numbers of women are graduating from universities and outpacing that of male graduates.
Strides are being made to advance women financially in Australia. More women are also seeking professional advice on how they may investment their money and grow lagging superannuation balances.
What the hype around Hillary does, if nothing else, is that it inspires women to keep progressing, to keep striving and believe that this is their time.
But we can’t forget the roles played by each and every other women, including Gillard in this famous speech to Parliament.