Quentin Bryce launches 2017 Pathways to Politics Program for Women

Image of Fellows of the 2016 Pathways to Politics program pictured here with University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis.
Fellows of the 2016 Pathways to Politics Program for Women.

The first female Governor-General of Australia, Dame Quentin Bryce, will formally open this year’s Pathways to Politics Program for Women at the Melbourne School of Government tonight.

Initiated by the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA) and made possible by a generous donation from the Trawalla Foundation to the University of Melbourne, the non-partisan program is the first of its kind to provide women with the skills, networks and confidence to aspire to elected office at local, state and national levels.

Dame Quentin said 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.

“Enabling women to become political leaders is not only about fairness," Dame Quentin said.

"Women are terrific leaders and diversity makes for effective leadership. I am extremely proud of this endeavour and I look forward to the day the country is led by a graduate of this program.”

This year, the 25 successful applicants will also learn how to build a political campaign and will present a speech in the Victorian Parliament’s Legislative Assembly to a select panel of MPs who will provide direct feedback on their work.

This year’s cohort includes eight women from rural and regional backgrounds and eight women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

The group is also politically diverse, including nine members of the Australian Labor Party, six Liberal party members, three Greens, two committed Independents, one member of the Sex Party and four who are unaligned.

Ms Carol Schwartz, 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," Ms Schwartz said.

"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."

The Pathways to Politics Program for Women will hold a session every fortnight until its completion on 2 November.

Media are invited to attend tonight’s session between 7pm and 7.30pm at the University of Melbourne.