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Aussie women wary of politics career: Plan International poll finds

Plan International has been nominated by Senator Sarah Hanson-Young to receive a portion of any winnings in her legal suit against Leyonhjelm

The treatment of women in politics is dissuading future female leaders, says a charity on the sidelines of a defamation battle between two federal senators.

Plan International Australia has been nominated by Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young to receive a portion of any winnings in her legal suit against Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm.

The charity revealed stark findings in its 2017 survey of more than 2,000 Australian girls and women about their career aspirations.

Only two per cent of girls aged 10 to 14 wanted to work in politics, rising to five per cent for those aged 15 to 17 and no women aged 18 to 25 had aspirations to work in politics.

“For too long outright sexist barbs have been hurled at female politicians,” the charity’s director of advocacy Hayley Cull said.

“Senator Hanson-Young is certainly not the first woman who a male politician has attempted to humiliate in the Senate and she won’t be the last.”

Senator Leyonhjelm told Senator Hanson-Young “to stop shagging men” during parliamentary debate and then made further comments on live TV and radio about her private life.

He refused to apologise and went on TV and radio to offer further “appalling” commentary about her private life.

On Monday night, Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young tweeted to say she was taking legal action on behalf of all women who have “had enough”.

“When you consider how female politicians are still treated in parliament and the media in this country, is it any wonder the next generation has no desire to expose themselves to this world?” Cull said.”There’s a saying that you can only be what you can see.”

Hanson-Young claims there is a strong case for defamation, emailing supporters for donations and saying any winnings would go to women’s charities.

“No woman deserves to be disrespected, harassed, and bullied in the workplace, in the street, or in their own homes,” Hanson-Young said on Tuesday.

“For women everywhere, from the factory floor, in the hospitality industry, to flight attendants, this fight is for you.”

Senator Leyonhjelm received a concerns notice a week ago that gave him seven days to respond, but says full legal action is yet to commence.

“The legal advice I’ve received would suggest she’s not likely to win,” Senator Leyonhjelm told AAP on Tuesday.

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