Changing the face of politics

Thu, 2 Mar 2023

As we approach International Women’s Day (8 March), we take a look at Pathways to Politics for Women program, supported by Trawalla Foundation, which is open for applications until Monday 6 March 2023.

Pathways to Politics for Women has come to Canberra, launching last week with a breakfast event at the University of Canberra. Australian Ambassador for Gender Equality, Stephanie Copus Campbell AM opened the event with an address, which was followed with a panel discussion between Trawalla Foundation Chair, Carol Schwartz AO, Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee MLA and former Federal Labor MP Gai Brodtmann.

The University of Canberra joins the University of Melbourne, QUT, UNSW and Charles Darwin University as delivery partners for the program, which is supported by the Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia and the Trawalla Foundation.

In Australia, women are under-represented across all levels of government, business, civil society, and positions of influence. Despite their proven ability as leaders and their right to participate equally in democratic governance, women still face many obstacles to participating in political life.

As of July 2022, 38% of federal parliamentarians and 39% of state and territory parliamentarians are women, but it varies significantly state by state: NSW 34%, Victoria 39%, Queensland 31%, Western Australia 48%, South Australia 35%, Tasmania 52%, ACT 52%, Northern Territory 48%.

The Pathways to Politics Program for Women is a national, proudly non-partisan initiative that aims to change the face of politics by equipping women with the skills, knowledge, confidence and networks they need to run for elected office and thrive as political leaders.

Pathways to Politics brings together significant expertise and experience from across Australia’s political spectrum to provide participants with networking opportunities and practical training that emphasises good governance, ethics and leadership.

The program supports women and non binary people to make the journey to public office by connecting them with a network of political, professional, and cultural backgrounds and teaching modules which cover political vision, campaign planning, media training, speech-writing and leadership skills.

Pathways to Politics has realised significant impact in advancing female political participation since it launched in 2016, with 28 electoral successes achieved nationally across the political spectrum at local, state and federal levels of government.

Sarah Buckley from the Trawalla Foundation encouraged women from all walks of life to apply, but also to share with their networks.

“Sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement or a prompt from a trusted source for women to apply, ” she said.