I add my voice to the noise of discussion on #womenofcalibre and argue that Abbott’s defenders on a feminist basis are wrong

As the election rolls along and Abbott’s Paid Parental Leave is back in prominence, here’s a blog post explaining why it’s not all that Abbott is attempting to say it is.


#womenofcalibre. There is a dark and wholly dispiriting timbre to this phrase which I struggle to conceptualize. Firstly and most obviously my objection to this description is that we, women, are graded on a spectrum according to our earnings. It is only earnings to which he refers as it is the awarding of up to $75,000 for 26 weeks’ maternity leave Abbott defends during this statement. A clear indignity in this choice of words is that, whether you like it or not, the creation of the figure of a woman of calibre automatically produces the alternative: a woman of no calibre, of lower calibre, a woman of lesser ability or worth. I would hazard a guess that in Abbott’s eyes, as is likely in the eyes of any conservative, regarding any person, we are all graded according to wealth and earnings – highly objectionable. This is irrespective of gender in…

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