Thursday, June 24, 2010

Julia Gillard: What's in a name?

Today Australia not only has its first female Prime Minister, but the first 'Julia' to assume primary political status anywhere in the world.

Until now, Julias have played second fiddle in the political orchestra. Julius Caesar had two sisters called Julia. Julia Tyler(1820-89) was the second wife of US President Tyler. Julia Carson was the second African American woman elected to Congress from Indiana.

And yet Julias have topped the ranks in other arenas.

Julia Child television chef and author.

Julia Morgan is the most important female architect in history.

Julia Farr established the Home for the Incurables in 1878 in South Australia.

Julia Ward Howe - wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic and the Mother's Day Proclamation (1870)

Julia Roberts
is one of the first actors to earn $20 million dollars a picture, and one of the few older women to maintain a professional presence despite Hollywood's preference for younger female actors.

The traditional meaning of the name Julia is given as "soft haired and youthful". If her namesakes are any indicator, Julia Gillard's Prime Ministership can be expected to include reform, creative problem solving and dogged persistence in the face of great adversity. Such attributes can certainly be seen in her political contribution so far.

Talk continues about the under-representation of women in leadership positions in Australia, and particularly a study that suggests women are being set up to fail. The study reports that leadership responsibility is frequently given to women when companies are already in dire straits. With a Federal Election looming, one wonders if history is being repeated in the federal arena today.

You may also be interested in Tony Abbot and the Swivel Chair as well as Australian Story: She Who Waits
More Famous Julias

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