Pathways to Politics for Women

In Australia, less than one-third of all parliamentarians and one-fifth of all ministers are women. The Pathways to Politics Program for Women will address this under-representation by providing hands-on training and networking opportunities for women who aspire to elected office.

The Program was officially launched by the Hon Julie Bishop MP, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Carol Schwartz AM, Chair of the Trawalla Foundation and Professor Glyn Davis AC, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, in November 2015 at Parliament House, Canberra.

This Australian initiative is designed to redress the continued under-representation of women in Australian politics. In 2014 less than one-third of all parliamentarians and only one-fifth of all ministers were women. This is a problem of national and global significance. Compared with other countries, Australia's ranking for women in national government continues to decline. As noted in Representation of Women in Australian Parliaments 2014, the representation of women in Australia's parliaments hovers around the 'critical mass' of 30 per cent regarded by the United Nations as the minimum level necessary for women to influence decision-making in parliament.

The program will feature guest presenters from across the political spectrum including politicians (both sitting and retired), pollsters, public speaking professionals, campaign strategists, advisors, consultants and public policy experts as well as leading figures in Australian political and public life. Each session is structured around hands-on training and mentorship and includes conversation sessions with women elected to office in local, state and federal government. This executive program provides hard skills training but there will be an emphasis on aspiration and leadership.

The program was developed in consultation with Professor of Public Policy Iris Bohnet at the Harvard Kennedy School and Director of its Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) and Victoria Budson, Founding Executive Director of the WAPPP. We anticipate that graduates of the US and Australian programs will form part of an international network of women aspiring to elected office.

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The Pathways to Politics participants and fellows

Pictured above are participants and Pathways to Politics fellows at the first session of the 2016 program:
Fourth row: Deborah Wu, Emma Henderson, Emily Spiller, Shireen Morris, Kirsten Bright, Soraya Dean, Stephanie Amir, Libby Buckingham, Carla Drakeford.
Third row: Adrian Collette, Kirsten Chambers, Dr Sarah Mansfield, Katie Robertson, Sarah McNicol, Claire Febey, Susanne Newton, Dr Olivia Ball.
Second row: Alex Kennedy, Meredith Martin, Bridget Vallence, Brooke Coghlan, Cassandra Devine, Claire Marshall, Meg Brodie, Wesa Chau, Virginia Holdenson, Chrysi Misioudi, Dr Maria Dudycz, Lillian Kline.
Front row: Amy Mullins, Professor Carolyn Evans, Professor Margaret Sheil, Professor Glyn Davis, Dame Quentin Bryce, Carol Schwartz, Professor Helen Sullivan.