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Julia Gillard admitted as an Honorary Fellow at Girton College

The Mistress of GIrton College, Dr Elisabeth Kendall in conversation with the Hon. Julia Gillard AC

We are delighted to announce the admission of The Hon. Julia Gillard AC, 27th Prime Minister of Australia, as an Honorary Fellow at Girton College, University of Cambridge. 

Julia Gillard is the only woman to have served as Prime Minister of Australia, a position she held from 2010 to 2013. Julia was central to the successful management of Australia’s economy, the twelfth biggest in the world, during the global financial crisis. She delivered nation-changing policies including reforming Australian education at every level from childhood to university and establishing Australia’s first ever national scheme to care for people with disabilities.

Julia is Patron of the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED). She is the Inaugural Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London and Chair of Beyond Blue, a mental health charity in Australia. She has most recently taken up the position of Chair of the Wellcome Trust.

The official ceremony of admission on 26 October 2023 was preceded by a fascinating 'in conversation' with the Mistress of Girton College, Dr Elisabeth Kendall, attended by students and Fellows. They discussed Julia's famous "misogyny speech" delivered in the Australian Parliament in 2012, about the treatment of women in professional and public life, which received worldwide attention; the intensity of Prime Minister's Question Time in Australia; the importance of education; advice for young adults embarking on their careers; and the greatest challenges facing our world today.

You can watch the 'in conversation' below:


During the ceremony, members of Girton College Chapel Choir gave a magnificent performance of Locus iste by Anton Bruckner. The Mistress invited Julia to make the following pledge, witnessed by the Girton Fellowship:

“In joining the foundation of this College as an Honorary Fellow, I shall endeavour wherever possible to encourage and promote the values and vision of the College as an institution committed to inclusive excellence, and inspired by an ethic of care.”

Julia was then invited by the Praelector, Reverend Dr Charlie Bell, to sign the College Register. 

Hon. Julia Gillard signing the College Register

The Mistress said: I was delighted to welcome Julia as an Honorary Fellow. Julia’s immense achievements, particularly in furthering women’s and girls’ education, addressing inequality and tackling gender bias, fit closely with the ethos of Girton. Our “in conversation” event proved that she is not only every bit as impressive as we had anticipated, but exceptional fun as well. What a fabulous evening!

Hon. Julia Gillard AC said: I feel deeply honoured to have been awarded an Honorary Fellowship of Girton College, which has such a remarkable past and is making such an impact in the world today. Attending the admission ceremony gave me a real sense of connection to Girton College’s history as a key institution for the emancipation of women, a cause close to my heart. I am delighted that its contemporary mission is driven by the same values of respect, diversity and inclusion.

The ceremony was concluded by a celebratory Formal Hall dinner with the students and Fellows of Girton College.

You can view moments from the in conversation and ceremony below via our Flickr album:

In Conversation & Honorary Fellow Admission: Hon. Julia Gillard AC

Photographs © Girton College, University of Cambridge (UK).