Julia Gillard: Knitting shows another side of me | Women's Agenda

Julia Gillard: Knitting shows another side of me

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Julia Gillard’s push for the women’s vote has been ramped up again with a photograph of the prime minister knitting in an armchair released by the Australian Women’s Weekly today.

In the photo, Gillard is knitting a toy kangaroo as a gift for the Royal baby due in July. It’ll appear in the latest edition of the Weekly, on sale tomorrow.

In an interview with the magazine’s associate editor Caroline Overington, Gillard says her life is full of often “combative engagements” and that she hopes she’s achieved an image that shows women don’t need to shy away from adversarial environments like parliament.

“But that’s not all of me. [Knitting the kangaroo] is an opportunity to show a side of me,” Gillard says, adding that she knits for babies because they’re “smaller projects” that can be completed in a limited amount of time.

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Image: Grant Matthews/The Australian Women’s Weekly

She also tells the magazine that she’s not a “person who agonises” and will look back on her achievements with a sense of pride.

Overington writes in the piece that a request to photograph Gillard knitting the kangaroo came from the PM’s office.

The photo, published on the front pages of the Daily Telegraph and The Australia today, has ignited yet another round of headlines in the “gender wars”.

Campaign advisers have long worked with women’s magazines to push a more “women friendly” image of politicians. Who can forget Tony Abbott photographed with his three daughters and wife back in 2010, accompanying a story with quotes such as, “I would say to my daughters, if they were asking … it is [sex] the greatest gift that you can give someone”.

Image: The Australian Women’s Weekly

Former Queensland premier Anna Bligh’s also made the cover of the Weekly. At the time editor Helen McCabe told blogger Sassisam that the decision was a “no brainer”, given Bligh represents what women want from a leader – strength and compassion.

And remember Cheryl Kernot, dressed in a red evening gown with matching feather boa?

We want to know what these photos and feature stories do for you.

Do they soften a politician’s image, give you some insight into how they’re just ‘regular’ people after all and/or highlight the leadership traits they have that appeal to women?

Do they help sway your vote?

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