En Garde

En Garde

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In June 2018, Sarah Hanson-Young, a female Senator for the Greens Party was participating in a debate on how to stop violence against women when Senator David Leyonhjelm called out from across the chamber, ‘Stop shagging men, Sarah.’ When Hanson-Young called out the abuse she received from male parliamentarians as slut-shaming, she sparked a national conversation about the rampant sexism in politics. Since then a succession of women in parliament have confirmed that gender equality remains a major issue. ‘For years I pretended that the taunts and innuendo directed at me in the parliament weren’t there, hoping that if I ignored them they would go away. I’ve had enough,’ writes Hanson-Young. ‘I have written this book because I know I’m not the only woman who has been subjected to sexist slurs and abuse designed to undermine their confidence and intimidate them in the workplace. ‘Whether it is working in the classroom, on the shop floor or in the parliament, women deserve to have a voice, and we’re not going to be slut-shamed for using it.’ After witnessing the torrent of verbal abuse levelled at female parliamentarians and public figures, Hanson-Young is convinced that retreating is not an option, that now is the time to call sexism out. En Garde is a clarion call to action for women across the generations. The title En Garde is a nod to the distance between the government and opposition in the House of Representatives being two swords’ length apart.