Here's The Reality Of Being A Female Politician In Australia

"You think, if I go into politics, then I'd be signing up for that kind of treatment."

Alice Rummery was 14 when the most powerful woman in the country was publicly assailed by sexism and misogyny at the hands of some of the country's most powerful men.

The teenager watched on when then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard stood up and made her world-famous misogyny speech.

"Seeing her in power was amazing for me, but it was a double-edged sword," the now 21-year-old youth activist told ten daily.

"I saw how she was treated -- the sexism and misogyny she encountered. I didn't really know anything about feminism, but seeing her speak up about sexism was really powerful."

When you walk into the halls of NSW Parliament, you're greeted by men.

The wood-paneled walls are lined with black-and-white photographs of the bushy-faced men who for years passed the legislation and governed this state.

It wasn't until Kristina Keneally took office in 2009 that NSW even had its first female state premier. Now, we have a second: Gladys Berejiklian. She's the 45th person to hold that office, and the second woman.

On average, women make up just 38 percent of our state and federal politicians.

A recent study by Plan International Australia found that the percentage of young women wanting to get into politics is -- quite literally -- zero, with many citing sexist treatment as a potential barrier.

"I don't think it's rocket science to see that there will be a different approach by certain people in the media around gender," Federal MP Susan Templeman told ten daily.

"And that really is something that does no one any benefit."

Susan Templeman (left) with Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten and Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek. Photo: AAP.

On Friday, female politicians across all sides came together for the second annual Women in the House conference, which aims to empower women to run for office.

"I don't think there's a woman working in politics who would answer no to experiencing sexism in their career," said NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong.

"The reality is that sexism and racism is a part of being an MP for me. It's something I experience on a regular basis. It doesn't stop me from doing my job."

Women in politics are almost playing by different rules to the men, said Jennifer Morris, founder of Women for Election Australia.

"There's an idea that if we do a good job -- heads down, bum up -- then we'll be acknowledged, be rewarded, and be promoted," she said.

"The reality is that might work for the first half of your career, but not when moving into political life. Some people don't realise that there's a different a different game being played to the one they're playing."

Templeman told ten daily that while she was fortunate to not experience overt sexism in her political career, she did stress that there was an undue pressure on women to manage all aspects of their life -- career, family, friends, kids -- at the same time.

"There's a lot of extra pressures on women. There's a lot of young mums in parliament, but there's also a lot of young dads. We really need to make sure that the expectations we have of both of those people are the same."

This acknowledgement of different expectations and pressures was something many of the female politicians ten daily spoke to agreed upon, even if their own experiences differed.

Liberal Party state member for North Sydney Felicity Wilson told ten daily there were "different hurdles for women than there are for men", while Labor's Courtney Houssos, who had her two young kids in tow in Parliament House on Friday, said it was vital that "people like me" -- a.k.a. working parents -- are seen to be the usual sort of politician.

NSW State Member for North Sydney Felicity Wilson at the NSW Liberal Party Futures convention in 2017. Photo: AAP.

"Seeing the growth of the number of women in our party has changed the way Labor operates," said Penny Sharpe.

"We need 50 percent women, and we need all life experiences."

For Alice Rummery, the sexist treatment of some female politicians by both the media and their political peers is cause for reservation about whether or not she should pursue a career in that field.

"I've definitely had concerns about going into politics as a woman, and not for any other reason than I've seen how other female politicians have been treated," she said.

"It's quite awful to see that. You think, if I go into politics, then I'd be signing up for that kind of treatment."

But for law student Laura Kenny, seeing the treatment of women -- and particularly Gillard -- made her even more determined to fight sexist behaviour.

"I think what it does is get a fire going in your belly," said the 25-year-old, who grew up in Tony Abbott's electorate of Warringah and said there was nothinh like "low expectations" to encourage you.

"When you can see that women aren't receiving the respect they ought to be, and that they're not being able to represent our population without being attacked for their gender, it pushes you further."