Women in Local Government: Understanding their Political Trajectories

This research investigates the under representation of women in Australian politics, through a study of barriers to women’s representation in local government.

Collingwood Town Hall, Hoddle Street, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia
Collingwood Town Hall, Hoddle Street, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia


This project aims to investigate the chronic under representation of women in Australian politics through a local government lens. It expects to generate new knowledge about barriers to female political representation, their political performance and pathways to higher tiers of elected office. By following men and women councillors across an election cycle, this research seeks to robustly compare and measure women’s experiences of local politics to develop a new framework to map and address obstacles preventing political equity. Expected outcomes include theoretical advances and a ‘best practice’ guide for achieving parity. This should provide significant public benefits by advancing female participation across all levels of governments.


This project aims to develop a comprehensive framework of gender barriers in politics to inform research across Australia that can be tested at all levels of government. Create a best-practices guide for local government to increase gender diversity and inclusion. The key findings will be disseminated to local government representatives and the project will document how implementation of these findings impact their decisions about continuing careers. The project also aims to engage a broader range of stakeholders including local, state and federal government and non-profits interested in gender diversity to maximise dissemination of our results.