Julie Bishop is ambassador for the first professional all-female Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race team. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Julie Bishop is ambassador for the first professional all-female Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race team. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Julie Bishop’s coded message

When Julie Bishop accepted the role of ambassador for the first professional all-female Sydney to Hobart yacht team, she was quick to call in her fashion connections to get the crew appropriately kitted out.

Ms Bishop announced she would represent the Ocean Respect Racing team at a ceremony in Sydney this morning, and she made sure each team member was wearing a pair of red Converse sneakers.

Red shoes have become a symbol of power for the former foreign minister ever since this now-famous moment in Australian politics:

The red shoes Julie Bishop wore the day she resigned as foreign minister. Picture: Kym Smith
The red shoes Julie Bishop wore the day she resigned as foreign minister. Picture: Kym Smith

Ms Bishop stepping out in these killer red high heels was seen as her final power move when she resigned as foreign minister after August's Liberal leadership spill.

At the yacht event today, she stepped out in another statement pair of red heels and the same earrings she wore the day she announced she was resigning from cabinet - marking another strong female power move.

She wants to see the 13-strong women crew take the Tattersall Cup - and while she won't join them on board, she'll see them off and plans to pop champagne at the end.

Ms Bishop got the team kitted out in Kookai white power suits for their media call, teamed with the red Converses.

And while the image of the red shoes was stark, Ms Bishop suggested we not read too much into it.

"It's just part of something I decided to wear today," she told news.com.au.

"I have a passion for red shoes."

That passion shows in her prolific use of the red shoe emoji. And she said today she had a lot pairs at home.

Ms Bishop made a blistering speech to an Australian Women's Weekly event after her failed leadership tilt, pointing out the difficulties she had experience as a female MP.

Before her speech, she debated with a group of female Liberal MPs on Whatsapp about what to do about the bullying allegations.

"Perhaps I'll have some insights," Ms Bishop said of her impending speech, signing off with the red heel emoji.

 

 

 

 

Ocean Respect Racing skipper Stacey Jackson wearing red converse with Ms Bishop in her red heels and Kookai jacket. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Ocean Respect Racing skipper Stacey Jackson wearing red converse with Ms Bishop in her red heels and Kookai jacket. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Red has become the colour to symbolise today's gender equality struggle, whether Ms Bishop admits it or not, with celebrity feminist Lena Dunham, last year proclaiming "the revolution will wear red lipstick".

The colour has been donned at International Women's Day protests around the world, and now it sits squarely in the blue benches of parliament.

The statement red jacket has become a signal among outspoken female Liberal MPs including Ann Sudmalis, Julia Banks and Kelly O'Dwyer.

In September they all sat in Question Time boldly wearing the colour among a see of grey, sparking speculation they were inspired by Ms Bishop.

At the time a debate was raging over the Liberal Party's treatment of women and its struggle to boost its female representation.

Ms Bishop has long refused to call herself a feminist, and she repeated today.

"I call myself a member of parliament. I don't get into labels," she told news.com.au

"I am a female politician. People can judge me by what I do, not how I self-describe."

Spot the red. That’s Ms Bishop in the back corner, in case you missed her. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Spot the red. That’s Ms Bishop in the back corner, in case you missed her. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP

 

Here we are again, this time the red was for the The Future of Power event at the 2018 Women in National Security Conference. Picture Kym Smith
Here we are again, this time the red was for the The Future of Power event at the 2018 Women in National Security Conference. Picture Kym Smith

Today, Ms Bishop said more could be done to ensure women were better represented in parliament.

"I think politics will continue to evolve," she said.

"What we're trying to ensure is more females in parliament so we have a closer representation.

"We can all do more to boost female representation."

She also said she hoped the all-female yacht team would inspire other women to tackle challenging races.

Ms Bishop said history was full of stories of women disguising themselves as men to compete in man's world.

Skipper Stacey Jackson who assembled the crew said they might have to call on Ms Bishop to get advice on how to "wear shoes like that".

Ms Bishop also wore the same beautiful pearl Margaret McKinney earrings.
Ms Bishop also wore the same beautiful pearl Margaret McKinney earrings.

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