by Kali Goldstone, WFEA Senior Advisor

I believe that there is a levy many women have to deal with every day, when it comes to our careers and employment.

While this tax is not strictly enforced it is perceived to be essential, particularly if you are running for election.

Interestingly, this is not an entirely financial levy, even though it can eat away at your paycheque. Fundamentally, it is a tax on your time – the amount of time that women have to spend on grooming, when they are in the public eye.

This tax has been a perpetual curse for Hillary Clinton:

I once calculated how many hours I spent having my hair and makeup done during the campaign. It came to about 600 hours, or 25 days. I was so shocked, I checked the math twice.

I’m not jealous of my male colleagues often, but I am when it comes to how they can just shower, shave, put on a suit, and be ready to go. The few times I’ve gone out in public without makeup, it’s made the news. So I sigh, and keep getting back in that chair, and dream of a future in which women in the public eye don’t need to wear makeup if they don’t want to, and no one cares either way.

Many of you will be thinking: I already have so much to think about in my campaign. Do I really need to consider styling as well?

Well, every single piece of research on female politicians and candidates says ‘yes!’. 

So how should you style yourself and stay true to who you are? That is what the awesome Julie Hyne who delivered a “Masterclass on Styling” for Women for Election Australia sought to answer.  

Julie explored with us the importance of style and presence during campaigning and how you can develop your authentic and personal image and brand to stand out, be noticed and heard. 

Julie is a Certified and highly experienced Image Professional who has mentored hundreds of senior executive women who hold key positions of influence in Australia. Her Style for Life strategies have helped women build their executive presence, gain votes, promotions, build incomes and lift confidence to draw on their own strengths and influence.

Comments around hair, makeup and clothing regularly clouds the analysis of leadership style and policy positions of women in public office. Julia Gillard had to put up with constant media coverage about every aspect of her appearance from her hair to her shoes, her earlobes to her buttocks. 

I believe this disproportionate attention to appearance is a proxy for gender. Most journalists did not candidly link their analyses of Gillard to her gender, instead they ascribed gender-based expectations to ‘public perception’.

Julie spoke about “Political Presence: The ability to effectively communicate and reach an audience by being persuasive, compelling and impactful.” 

 

A first impression is based on spoken words, tone of voice and body language

 She then went on to detail “5 Principles Behind Your Visual Signature”:

  1. Appropriateness 
  2. Fit
  3. Colour
  4. Grooming 
  5. Attention to detail

Having a powerful presence means owning and taking responsibility for all aspects of your personal brand and image.

The relentless commentary about the wardrobes and hairstyles of female politicians may seem petty compared to the genuine demands that women in public face. However, make no mistake, this kind of commentary clears the path for sexism and misogyny to thrive.

Women for Election Australia would like to thank Julie Hyne for so generously sharing her time and expertise with us.

Check out our upcoming events or sign up to our newsletter to don’t miss any masterclass.

Julie has her own business – Style for Life – where she advises clients personally about styling that best suits the individual. Please reach out to Julie if you would like some more personalised advice –

Article written by: Kali Goldstone