Elected alums join call for more diversity in politics as Pathways to Politics for Women opens applications

March 06, 2024

The 2023 Pathways to Politics for Women cohort with guest judges Samantha Ratnam MP, Helen Haines MP, Bridget Vallance MP and Julianna Addison MP. Momentum continues to grow for women entering politics across Australia as the non-partisan Pathways to Politics Program for Women opens applications for its 2024 intake. More than 50 alums are expected to run in state and local elections across Australia in 2024, including Victoria’s local council elections this October. “It is inspiring to witness so many of our alums boldly making their mark in politics and making profound contributions in their communities. Aspiring female leaders who are passionate about politics and committed to driving positive change are encouraged to apply.

The 2023 Pathways to Politics for Women cohort with guest judges Samantha Ratnam MP, Helen Haines MP, Bridget Vallance MP and Julianna Addison MP.

Momentum continues to grow for women entering politics across Australia as the non-partisan Pathways to Politics Program for Women opens applications for its 2024 intake.

More than 50 alums are expected to run in state and local elections across Australia in 2024, including Victoria’s local council elections this October.

Backed by elected alums from all sides of politics, the award-winning program equips women with the skills, knowledge, confidence and networks to run for elected office and thrive as political leaders

From providing comprehensive training and mentorship opportunities to fostering a supportive community of aspiring female leaders from across the political spectrum, Pathways to Politics for Women has played a pivotal role in advancing gender diversity and inclusion in Australian politics.

Pathways to Politics for Women has helped hundreds of women to run for office, achieving 34 electoral successes nationally across the political spectrum and at all levels of government since it was founded at the University of Melbourne in 2016.

The program is an initiative of the Trawalla Foundation, Women’s Leadership Institute and the University of Melbourne. New programs at the University of Tasmania and The University of Western Australia launch this year, joining partner programs at the University of Melbourne, Queensland University of Technology, University of New South Wales, Charles Darwin University, the University of Adelaide and University of Canberra.

The Victorian program boasts a notable alum network across the political spectrum, including six current MPs in the Victorian Parliament, one current and one former Federal MP, and dozens of women serving on local councils, including three current mayors.

Dr Katie Allen – former Federal Member for Higgins, and an alum of the program – said: “We need more women in government and in the ministry because women change the conversation. But you cannot be what you cannot see. That’s why the Pathways to Politics program is so important – it provides a window into the experience of those who have been politically successful.”

Dr Sarah Mansfield MP – Member of the Legislative Council for Western Victoria and an alum of the program – said: “As a participant in the first year of Pathways to Politics in 2016, I look back on the experience as being pivotal in shaping my political journey. One of the incredible ongoing benefits has been the network of extraordinary women it has created, many of whom I now work alongside in state parliament. It has opened connections between us across party lines, opening the door for greater collaboration – which can ultimately drive better outcomes for our community.”

Kat Theophanous MP – Member for Northcote in the Victorian Parliament and an alum of the program – said: “Pathways to Politics was so much more than an information course. It was a dynamic platform to explore my strengths, overcome my doubts, and give me the practical skills needed to run a political contest. Most importantly, it connected me to a network of talented, motivated and inspiring women who have been there for me long after the final session.”

Sue-Anne Hunter, a Wurundjeri and Ngurai Illum Wurrung woman, Yoorrook Justice Commissioner and participant in the 2023 program, said: "I can confidently say that it has been a transformative experience… Thanks to this program, I’ve acquired valuable knowledge, established meaningful connections, and developed the confidence to lead with courage.”

Director of the Victorian program, Dr Meredith Martin, says she anticipates further electoral successes for the program this year.

“I am immensely proud of the program’s achievements and our role in increasing the number of diverse women shaping the Australian political landscape,” said Dr Martin.

“It is inspiring to witness so many of our alums boldly making their mark in politics and making profound contributions in their communities. As we embark on this historic election year, I look forward to witnessing many more following in their footsteps,”

Applications for the 2024 program open from 6 March – 24 April 2024. Aspiring female leaders who are passionate about politics and committed to driving positive change are encouraged to apply.

For more information and to apply, visit www.pathwaystopolitics.org.au

The source of this news is from University of Melbourne

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