On October 9th 2012, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard confronted then Liberal leader Tony Abbott on sexism in the government after two years of unrelenting misogyny.

Standing before her opposition in the House of Representatives, Gillard’s misogyny speech made waves around the world, and became a battle cry for women everywhere to not accept sexism at the hands of powerful men in the workplace.

On that day 10 years ago, she told Abbott in front of parliament, “I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not.”

“If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia he doesn’t need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror.”

“The leader of the opposition should think seriously about the role of women in public life and in Australian society because we are entitled to a better standard than this.”

Ms Gillard has now reflected on her famous speech after a decade, telling Lisa Wilkinson on The Project that the speech “almost never happened”.

She came to this revelation while writing her book, titled Not Now, Not Ever, in which she discusses the book and what need to be done to end misogyny.

“I always thought that I’d remembered every moment of that day because it was obviously a big one and I’d been asked about it so many times.”

“But when I was putting the Not Now, Not Ever book together I consulted my then chief of staff Ben Hubbard who reminded me that when Tony Abbott leapt to his feet to speak to the motion I wandered over to the adviser’s box and said to Ben and the other advisers there, ‘I’m going to take the reply’ and they said, ‘Oh really are you going to do that?’

“Because normally I kind of held myself above these day to day political tactics and I sort of thought about it, considered not doing it and then decided I would because I was sick of all the … I will use the word nonsense. All the nonsense.”

“Use the real word,” one of the show’s hosts interjected.

“I will get beeped. I don’t want to get beeped on TV,” Ms Gillard joked.

The “nonsense”, as she put it, included such comments as those made about her by radio broadcaster Alan Jones that “her father died of shame” and she “should be put in a chaff bag and thrown into sea”.

In the years since her misogyny speech, Gillard believes Australia is finally calling out sexism and misogyny, and not tolerating inequality between men and women anymore.

“I think what we are doing better is naming and shaming when we see sexism and misogyny,” she said.

“I think it’s impossible to imagine that a woman in parliament could be called the things I was without there being an uproar and political consequences.

“I think women’s voices, women’s issues are much more shaping of federal politics.”

Image credits: Getty Images

This article first appeared on OverSixty.