POPSUGAR interviewed Jess Miller over the phone to celebrate International Women’s Day.
POPSUGAR Australia: Did you always see a future in politics for yourself?
Jess Miller: Oh no, it was definitely not what I planned. When I was at school I wasn’t really involved in anything like debating or school politics — I was more likely back at the sheds or doing sport or art. I never did that [politics] thing . . . being involved and caring when you’re younger is seen as being a bit daggy, at least where I was from.
PS: Do you see improving gender equality in politics as part of your role?
JM: You don’t realize the system isn’t made for women until you’re in it. It’s like a lot of things though, you know? School hours aren’t designed for women. A lot of working hours are not designed for women. And the Australian political system is kind of like a bastardization of the British and the American system, and those weren’t built for women. You don’t get paid a lot at local government; it’s not designed to be a full-time role. As the deputy Lord mayor you’re on about $37,000 a year, and as a counselor, you’re paid about $27-29,000.
PS: What changes would you like to see this year?
JM: 100 percent, just more females in politics. The first thing is to get to that point of backing up other women publicly — to put a pretty firm line across inequality and just go, “Well this generation, we’re not copping it.” Now just feels like a really interesting time because there’s this sort of groundswell of support and sort of . . . tangible anger. I freakin’ love it. We should be angry and we shouldn’t just be quiet. I don’t like going to events and having people think I’m the caterer — that’s the thing. You can be polite and everything about it but if you make yourself a bit more visible, then other people go, “Well, maybe I can do that as well.” Check out Papa Survey official website for more inquiries.