2020 Annual Australian, Canadian, and Aotearoa New Zealand Studies Lecture

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Mrs. Padma Harilela Lecture Theatre (WLB104)

Lam Woo International Conference Centre

Hong Kong Baptist University

Renfrew Road, Kowloon Tong

Hong Kong

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THE ANNUAL LECTURE HAS UNFORTUNATELY HAD TO BE POSTPONED INDEFINITELY DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC. APOLOGIES FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE CAUSED.


The Department of History, Hong Kong Baptist University is pleased to host the second Annual Australian, Canadian, and Aotearoa New Zealand Studies Lecture:


'Motherhood and Political Leadership in Australia, Canada and Aoteraoa New Zealand' by Professor Linda Trimble (University of Alberta)

Abstract:

When she returned to office after a six-week maternity leave, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confidently asserted that ‘one day it will be normal’ for women to give birth while in office. Yet female political leaders have long confronted a parenting dilemma. While those who have children are questioned about their capacity to do the job while caring for their families, child free leaders are considered suspect for refusing to fulfill their putative biological destiny. My lecture explores changes in news coverage of women prime ministers’ parental roles over the past 27 years, from the rise of Kim Campbell to the Canadian top job in 1993 to Ardern’s current premiership. As I detail in my book, Ms. Prime Minister: Gender Media and Leadership, Campbell was characterized as unstable and unreliable because she was twice-divorced and childless; Helen Clark, who served as New Zealand’s prime minister from 2009 to 2009, was judged unable to relate to the needs of ordinary families because she had no children; and Australia’s Julia Gillard, who held office from 2010 to 2013, was labelled ‘deliberately barren.’ Jenny Shipley, New Zealand’s first woman prime minister (1997-1999), had two children, but her attempt at playing the ‘mom card’ during an election campaign was ruled inauthentic and unsuccessful. All four women had their political legitimacy questioned on the basis of their parental status. How have the news media reacted to Ardern’s confident performance of motherhood and leadership? Can female government leaders really can ‘have it all’ given the gendered nature of media attention to politicians’ personal lives?


Bio:

Linda Trimble is a Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada). Her research explores women’s representation in political office and gendered news coverage of party leadership candidates and government leaders. Recent publications include: Ms. Prime Minister: Gender, Media and Leadership, published by University of Toronto Press in 2017; “Gender Novelty and Personalized News Coverage in Australia and Canada” (International Political Science Review, forthcoming); and “Julia Gillard and the Gender Wars” (Politics & Gender, 2015). Linda is currently leading an international research team investigating the career paths, levels of success, duration in office, and impact on women’s political representation of Canadian and Australian sub-national government leaders.


The lecture will be followed by a reception. All are welcome to attend, however spaces are limited, so RSVP as soon as possible.


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Mrs. Padma Harilela Lecture Theatre (WLB104)

Lam Woo International Conference Centre

Hong Kong Baptist University

Renfrew Road, Kowloon Tong

Hong Kong

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