Tony Abbott should have demoted himself.
Tony Abbott should have demoted himself. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

When Prime Minister Tony Abbott shuffled the government's
ministry at the weekend he should have blackballed himself as minister
for women.

The demotion would be performance based. He is out of date and behind the times when it comes to women and the modern family.

His appointment of himself as the minister for women was
always seen as a cynical PR stunt, designed to compensate for the many
gaffes he has made about women over the years, including the gobsmacking
comment in 2010 that "housewives of Australia need to understand as
they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it's going
to go up in price, and their own power bill when they switch the iron on
are going to go up."

He has desperately tried to curb his old fashioned views
about women because pre-election polling showed it was hurting him. But a
question on breakfast television on Monday morning shows his attitude
hasn't changed at all.  His answer to a question what was his biggest
achievement as minister for women was getting rid of carbon tax because
"as many of us know, women are particularly focused on the household

Guess what Mr Abbott, not all women manage the household
budget, do the shopping or even cook. In my case, I don't shop, manage
the household budget or do the cooking. I share household chores with my
husband, who works full time. It is based partly on ability, he reckons
I can't cook. Gender doesn't come into it.

It follows ignorant comments made by him back in March when he said Australia
had "smashed just about every glass ceiling". He didn't leave it at
that. He said "Anyone who is in Australia has won the lottery of life
and if you look at our country and the deal that it gives to women, it
is obviously pretty good."

The statistics show there is still a long way to go to bridge
the gap between men and women on so many levels. For instance, one in
three women experience physical violence, one in five women at some
stage in their career experience sexual harassment, the gap between pay
is still double digit and the number of women in senior executive
positions or on boards is still too low.

In his cabinet reshuffle he doubled the number of women in
the ministry to two. He could have easily made way for one more by
giving the role of minister for women to someone better able to do the
job. This would be a long list given his track record.

Yes things are improving in Australia but it is no
thanks to him. Companies have started to take action to lift the number
of women on boards, but as Fairfax Media recently demonstrated in a
survey of the ASX100 companies, there is a long way to go. It found
companies "have steadily bolstered the number of female directors in the
boardroom in recent years, there has been negligible progress when it
comes to adding to the ranks of senior female executives."

Does Mr Abbott think many of these women are standing over iron boards praising the removal of carbon tax?

Change comes from the top and with a prime minister with such outdated attitudes it might be time to move him on.