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The Pathways to Politics Program for Women is based at the University of Melbourne’s School of Government and is modelled on the Harvard Kennedy School program ‘From Harvard Square to the Oval Office.’

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.

It provides a select group of female University of Melbourne students and alumni with the support and encouragement to aspire to elected office at local, state and national levels.

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.

The program features 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.

Speakers in the 2017 program included:
•    Dame Quentin Bryce, 25th Governor-General of Australia
•    Denis Glover, author and former speechwriter
•    Penny Wong, Labor Senator for SA
•    Professor Carolyn Evans, Dean of Melbourne Law School
•    The Honourable John Brumby, former Premier of Victoria
•    Dr Simon Longstaff AO, executive Director of The Ethics Centre
•    Kelly O’Dwyer MP, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Minister for Women (Liberal Party)
•    Fiona Patten MP, Leader of the Reason Party
•    Judi Moylan, former federal Liberal MP
•    Carol Schwartz AM, Chair of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia
•    Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens Senator for SA
•    Mary Wooldridge MP, Victorian Shadow Minister for Health (Liberal Party)

2016 Pathways to Politics Fellows:

Deborah Wu, Emma Henderson, Emily Spiller, Shireen Morris, Kirsten Bright, Soraya Dean, Stephanie Amir, Libby Buckingham, Carla Drakeford, Kirsten Chambers, Dr Sarah Mansfield, Katie Robertson, Sarah McNicol, Claire Febey, Susanne Newton, Dr Olivia Ball, Bridget Vallence, Brooke Coghlan, Cassandra Devine, Claire Marshall, Meg Brodie, Wesa Chau, Virginia Holdenson, Chrysi Misioudi, Dr Maria Dudycz.

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 Iris Bohnet at the Harvard Kennedy School and Director of its Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) as well as 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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