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16 March 2022

Theresa May & Julia Gillard: In Conversation for International Women's Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day, former Prime Minister of Australia and Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (GIWL), Julia Gillard was joined by former Prime Minister of the UK, the Rt Hon Theresa May MP for an In Conversation event.

Kelly Beaver, Julia Gillard & Theresa May
Kelly Beaver, Julia Gillard & Theresa May

During the discussion between the two former leaders, they shared their experiences at the highest level of politics, the obstacles they faced, and what as a society we can do to improve gender equality and women's political representation.

The event, which was hosted by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership in partnership with Ipsos UK and held at Bush House, was informed by insights from Kelly Beaver, the new Chief Executive of Ipsos UK and first woman to hold that role. Kelly shared findings from a new global survey looking at women's career progression, attitudes towards feminism, toxic online behaviour and more.

The research, conducted in partnership with Ipsos and GIWL and based on a survey of over 20,000 people in 30 countries, revealed concerning perceptions regarding online harassment and violence or abuse of women, as well as highlighting how some minorities are failing to accept the reality of inequality between women and men.

"It's the best job in the world... We need to show more young women the experiences of women working in politics and the difference they're making because women can make such a difference in politics."

Rt Hon Theresa May MP on how we can encourage more women into politics

Reflecting on her experiences of tackling sexism during her time as Prime Minister, she went onto to say: "As a woman leader you're working that tightrope... if you're too emotional, you can't hack it. If you're not emotional enough, you get 'what sort of woman are you?”

President & Principal of King’s, Professor Shitij Kapur introduced the event and reiterated King’s commitment to gender equality, reporting the university’s progress on the gender pay gap which has continued to fall year-on-year decreasing from 17.1% in 2020 to the current 14.8%, and acknowledging that more work needs to be done across the sector to continue the decline and close the gap.