Book Review: Not Now, Not Ever by Julia Gillard

About the Book:

Ten years on from the speech that stopped us all in our tracks – Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech. Where were you then? And where are we now?

On 9 October 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard stood up and proceeded to make all present in Parliament House that day pay attention – and left many of them squirming in their seats. The incisive ‘misogyny speech’, as her words came to be known, continues to energise and motivate women who need to stare down sexism and misogyny in their own lives.

With contributions from Mary Beard, Jess Hill, Jennifer Palmieri, Katharine Murphy and members of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, Julia Gillard explores the history and culture of misogyny, tools in the patriarchy’s toolbox, intersectionality, and gender and misogyny in the media and politics.

Kathy Lette looks at how the speech has gained a new life on TikTok, as well as inspiring other tributes and hand-made products, and we hear recollections from Wayne Swan, Anne Summers, Cate Blanchett, Brittany Higgins and others of where they were and how they first encountered the speech.

While behaviours may have improved since the misogyny speech, there remains a way to go and Julia Gillard explores the roadmap for the future with next-generation feminists Sally Scales, Chanel Contos and Caitlin Figueiredo to motivate us with that rallying cry: Not now, not ever!

Proceeds from the book will go to the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (GIWL).

Published by Penguin Random House – Vintage Australia

Released October 2022

My Thoughts:

Where was I when Julia Gillard made her ‘misogyny speech’? I’m not entirely sure where I was while the speech was being made, but I certainly know where I was when I heard it on the news that evening. In the kitchen, making dinner for my (ex) husband and three children. I had only recently moved to the outback of Queensland, giving up a well-paid and very rewarding job so that my (ex) husband could take one that would further his own career. I was already regretting the move and resenting my sacrifice. This seed of resentment would grow and grow and continue to grow, like a weed that just can’t be killed. But at that point, as I paused in my cooking to listen to our Prime Minister deliver a speech so filled with truth and poised rage, I felt seen. My admiration for Julia Gillard sky-rocketed on that night, and I have loved her since.

Not Now, Not Ever is a book I have been looking forward to reading since I first heard of its release earlier this year. It did not disappoint. I particularly enjoyed the recollections at the end of each chapter from various people on where they were and what they thought at the time of the speech. And of course, the parts written by Julia herself were a highlight. I have done a lot of feminist study and feminist reading throughout and since my university days, so much of the historical context on sexism and misogyny offered by some of the contributors was not new to me. I more enjoyed the anecdotal sections, particularly about the deplorable state of our Australian parliament within the context of misogyny in action.

The new wave of feminism is here but there is still a long way to go. Books like this are essential to creating awareness and momentum. I think it would be an incredible asset to the Australian education reading list for seniors – as a teaching tool, it would be phenomenal. As a book to read for information and entertainment, I highly recommend it for that also.

Book 16 of my 22 in 2022 challenge.

13 thoughts on “Book Review: Not Now, Not Ever by Julia Gillard

  1. I’m going to have to look up the speech, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard it. I’m also not sure we’ll ever get where we need to in terms of misogyny and feminism.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: AusReading Month – Week One

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