WLIA Executive Director, Amy Mullins visited the Sky News Melbourne studio to speak with Ashleigh Gillon about Kate Ellis MP’s retirement from politics, the difficulties parliamentarians face in balancing politics and family life and what needs to change.
“Politics is one of those areas which is really behind in changing its workplace policies. We often see politics as not a workplace… but it is. It has other demands on politicians’ time, but I think that means we should actually be more innovative in how we do politics and ask – what could we change to make it easier for politicians to do their jobs, but also be with their families and be personally fulfilled? And that’s something that will make them better politicians.”
Designed to address the under-representation of women in Australian politics, program participants will hear from current and former MPs along with local and international experts in media, polling, networking, campaigning and speechwriting.
The Program is an initiative of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA), made possible by a generous donation to the University of Melbourne from the Trawalla Foundation established by the Schwartz family. Ms Carol Schwartz AM, Founding Chair of WLIA, says last year’s pilot program was a great success with several women already embarking on political careers.
“The program has given a cohort of incredible women from across the political spectrum the skills, support and networks they need to run for office. It’s critical to have men and women share power at the highest levels of leadership and decision-making – that’s why we initiated the Pathways to Politics Program for Women,” says Ms Schwartz.
Two of last year’s fellows – Susanne Newton and Stephanie Amir – were recently elected as councillors in the City of Darebin and two others – Olivia Ball and Sarah Mansfield – ran as candidates in the federal election and had significant swings towards them.
Olivia then went head-to-head against popular Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle, and received the second-highest number of votes, beating more experienced politician Phil Cleary.
Recently, Bridget Vallence won pre-selection for the safe Liberal seat of Evelyn, in Victoria.
Based on Harvard University’s “From Harvard Square to Oval Office”, the non-partisan program equips 25 women from diverse backgrounds with the skills, networks and confidence they need to seek elected office at a federal, state or local level.
Free for successful applicants, the Pathways to Politics Program for Women runs from June to November this year. Prospective participants can view the eligibility requirements and apply here. Applications close at 11.59pm on April 4th 2017.
Our Executive Director, Amy Mullins, joined Ashleigh Gillon in the Sky News Melbourne studio to talk about the news that the 45th Parliament will see the lowest levels of female MPs in a Coalition government in 20 years. They also discussed ways in which we can increase the number of women elected. Angela Priestley, Editor of Women’s Agenda, joined the discussion from Sydney.
Amy references new research about quotas and their effectiveness in increasing the number of female politicians in a nation. If you’re interesting in reading more about it, read Dr Victor Sojo’s article here.
Have you ever considered a career in politics? Do you want to change the status quo?
The Melbourne School of Government’s Pathways to Politics Program for Women is an Australia-first, non-partisan initiative designed to redress the continued under-representation of women in Australian politics.
This free executive program, made possible by the Trawalla Foundation and WLIA, will provide a select group of female University of Melbourne alumnae and students with the skills, support and encouragement to run for elected office at local, state and national levels.
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.
Applications are now open and will close at midnight on Monday 11 April 2016. Please visit the Pathways to Politics for Women website for more information, including eligibility and how to apply.
The first Australian university program to address the continued under-representation of women in parliament has been launched today by the Hon Julie Bishop MP, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Carol Schwartz AM and the University of Melbourne at Parliament House, Canberra.
The ‘Pathways to Politics Program for Women‘ will be delivered by the University of Melbourne to female graduate students and alumni, and is designed to provide the support and training necessary to aspire to elected office at local, state and national levels.
The Program was initiated and made possible by a generous donation from the Trawalla Foundation established by the Schwartz family. The Foundation invests in social enterprises that demonstrate innovation and leadership in their area of social impact, such as the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia.
Ms Carol Schwartz AM, Chair of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, said that it was a privilege to contribute to the advancement of women in political life.
“Currently women occupy fewer than 30% of Australian parliamentary positions, which is considerably lower than our international counterparts. So I am thrilled to be launching a non-partisan program designed to help bridge the gap,” Ms Schwartz said.
‘Pathways to Politics’ is modelled on the ‘From Harvard Square to the Oval Office‘ program, offered through the Kennedy School at Harvard University, and will be based within the Melbourne School of Government.
Participants will be given the opportunity to learn from members of parliament, campaign strategists, advisors, consultants and elected officials. It is anticipated that graduates of the US and Australian programs will form part of an international network of women in office.
University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor, Professor Glyn Davis AC, said the program reflected the University’s commitment to support social change.
“The University is very excited to launch a program designed to ensure women are encouraged and supported in their contribution to public debate and well represented in government roles,” said the Vice-Chancellor.
In its first year, ‘Pathways to Politics’ will be open to University of Melbourne graduate students and alumni.