For the next generation of women looking to enter politics, recent months and years have provided a stark preview of what may lie ahead.
Research shows many girls and women have been deterred due to sexism across the political spectrum, and Shireen Morris, who stood for the seat of Deakin in 2019, considers it “depressing and disheartening”, especially in light of shocking language used towards the Victorian Minister for Women, Gabrielle Williams, by her then-ministerial colleague, Adem Somyurek.
“It’s disappointing that this kind of behavior will scare some women off, and it’s up to all of us to nonetheless encourage women to put their best foot forward and have courage, and to support them when they do try,” said Dr Morris, a post-doctoral fellow at Melbourne University with a PhD in constitutional law.
Dr Morris knows to expect tough going: in about eight years working with Noel Pearson’s Cape York Institute on constitutional recognition for Indigenous people, she saw how politics works. So much so that when the Uluru Statement was dismissed she felt strongly enough to enter the fray.