I am very excited to share this interview with the Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Federal Member for Curtin. As you can appreciate the Minister is incredibly busy so I am very grateful that she took the time to do this interview. The fact that the Minister was willing to do this interview highlights the importance of education for women and girls and her commitment to the issue.
I am sure you will enjoy reading this interview. I love the quote from the UN report...
Julie Bishop is the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Australia’s Federal Coalition Government. She is also the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and has served as the Member for Curtin in the House of Representatives since 1998.
Born and educated in South Australia, Julie graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from Adelaide University in 1978, before practicing law at an Adelaide law firm and becoming a partner at the age of 26.
In 1983, Julie moved to Perth and practiced as a commercial litigation lawyer at Clayton Utz, becoming a partner in 1985 and managing partner in 1994. She attended Harvard Business School in Boston in 1996, completing the Advanced Management Program for Senior Managers.
Looking at the bigger picture, both nationally and internationally, in your experience what role does the education of mothers play in creating a well-functioning and healthy society?
Educating women and girls can transform their lives. Every additional year of primary and secondary education makes a difference to marriage age, fertility rates, health outcomes and the capacity of women and girls to better make decisions about their lives and those of their children. Conversely, where girls’ education opportunities are limited, chronic poverty can be perpetuated through lost opportunities.
In Vietnam with President of the Vietnam Women’s Union for the launch of an ACIAR vegetable project in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 18, 2014.
Source: ACIAR’s flickr photostream, used under a creative common license.
In Australia, the education of our girls is not even an issue we give a second thought, and, perhaps is even something we take for granted. Internationally, how pressing is the issue of access to education for girls?
As the Minister for Foreign Affairs, I am acutely aware that we live in a region where universal access to education for women and girls is limited. A 2014 UN report noted that “educating women is the closest thing to a silver bullet in human development”. It is my view that educating women and girls is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. This is why I have made it a priority of Australia’s foreign aid budget to focus on the education of women and girls. These investments are helping to empower women to achieve their aspirations and release their full potential and reduce the effects of disadvantage and accelerate economic growth.
As a successful lawyer and politician, what tips can you offer women about following their dreams?
There are many women who are pushing boundaries today and refusing to accept the limits placed by others on their dreams and aspirations. My advice is to always stay true to yourself, back your instincts and do not let others define you.
With Norma Sagom, WaterAID PNG Health Advocacy Advisor.Credit: idphoto.com.au
If you could offer any advice to mums out there who are struggling with their studies, what would you say to them?
I admire their enterprise in combing motherhood and studies and urge them to continue to focus on the outcome – it will be worth the effort.
With students at Parliament House (Photo credit: www.education.wa.edu.au)
Thank you very much for your time Minister and for sharing your thoughts with Mums who Study.