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Gillard sexism speech sparks dictionary rethink

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REUTERS

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Sydney -

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's fiery speech calling the opposition leader a misogynist on Wednesday prompted a leading dictionary to broaden its definition of the word.

Gillard, the nation's first woman leader, lashed out last week at Tony Abbott in parliament, saying she would not be “lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man”.

Her comments went viral and won praise around the world but also sparked debate about whether Abbott really had a pathological hated of women, which is the current basic definition of misogyny in Australia's Macquarie Dictionary.

Editor Sue Butler said it would now be broadened to include “entrenched prejudice against women” because usage of the word has evolved over the past few decades and no longer refers just to a hatred of women.

“Misogyny was strict hatred of women and it probably does need a second definition to cover entrenched prejudices of women, as opposed to an out-and-out fundamental horror at women,” she told The Australian Financial Review.

“We need to add a second definition, which is slightly stronger than sexist but heading in that direction towards entrenched prejudice rather than a visceral hatred.”

Butler added to ABC radio that Gillard's use of the word prompted the rethink.

“The debate certainly brought it to our attention,” she said.

“I always think of myself as the person with the mop and the broom and the bucket who's cleaning up the language after the party's over.

“And in this case it was a fairly big party, and what was left on the floor was misogyny.”

The new definition is set to appear in the online version of the dictionary of Australian English this year and in the printed version in 2013. - Sapa-AFP


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