Gillard led Australia through the global financial crises as prime minister and deputy prime minister.
The first woman to ever serve as Australia’s prime minister, she held that role from 2010 to 2013. During that time, and in her previous role as deputy prime minister, Gillard was central to the successful management of Australia’s economy during the global financial crisis and as Australia positioned to seize the benefits of Asia’s rise. She developed Australia’s guiding policy paper, Australia in the Asian Century.
During her time in office, Gillard delivered nation-changing policies, including reforming Australia education at every level from early childhood to university education; creating an emissions trading scheme; improving the provision and sustainability of health care, aged care and dental care; commencing the nation’s first-ever national scheme to care for people with disabilities; and restructuring the telecommunications sector and building a national broadband network.
In foreign policy, Gillard strengthened Australia’s alliance with the United States, secured stronger architecture for the relationship with China, upgraded Australia’s ties with India, and deepened ties with Japan, Indonesia and South Korea. Under Gillard’s leadership, Australia was elected to the United National Security Council.
In addition to being the first woman to serve as Australia’s prime minister, she was the first to serve as deputy prime minister and Australian Labor Party leader. She was the second woman to lead the Australian Union of Students. In October 2012, she received worldwide attention for her speech in Parliament on the treatment of women in professional and public life.
Gillard’s appearance at Widener will be in advance of her sold-out evening appearance as part of the Philadelphia Speakers Series presented by Widener at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. Now in its 11th sold-out season, the Philadelphia Speakers Series offers annual subscribers the opportunity to spend an evening with Pulitzer and Nobel Peace Prize winners, world leaders, statesmen, distinguished journalists, authors and other celebrated personalities. For more information about the Philadelphia Speakers Series and the lineup of speakers for the 2014-15 season, visit www.philadelphiaspeakersseries.org.