Pathways to Politics for Women: eight Fellows running in Victorian elections

Eight Fellows from the University of Melbourne’s Pathways to Politics Program for Women will contest seats in this month’s Victorian election.

The non-partisan program is based on Harvard University’s From Harvard Square to Oval Office and aims to equip women from diverse backgrounds with the skills, networks and confidence they need to seek elected office at a federal, state or local level.

Melbourne School of Government Assistant Director Avery Poole said three Fellows had been elected to local government and several had run in other elections and by-elections since the program’s launch in Canberra by Tanya Plibersek and Julie Bishop in 2015.

“It is fantastic to see the contribution our Fellows are making to address the under-representation of women in our political system and to see as many as eight of our Fellows running for seats across Victoria is an extremely uplifting sign what we are doing something right,” Dr Poole said.

The program is an initiative of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA), made possible by a donation to the University of Melbourne from the Trawalla Foundation established by the Schwartz family.

WLIA Founding Chair Carol Schwartz said she was proud of the number of fellows who had embarked on political careers in the three short years since the Pathways to Politics program began.

“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.

“After a challenging year for Australian women in politics, we need to keep a national conversation going about the under-representation of women in parliament.  It’s critical to have men and women share power at the highest levels of leadership and decision-making.”

The Pathways to Politics Program for Women Fellows who are running for State seats on Saturday, 24 November are:

  • Juliana Addison (ALP) – Wendouree District
  • Katie Allen (Liberal) – Prahran District
  • Gaelle Broad (Nationals) – Bendigo East District
  • Laura Chipp (Reason) – South-Eastern Metropolitan Region
  • Susanne Newton (Greens) – Preston District
  • Cindy O’Connor (ALP) – Brunswick District
  • Kat Theophanous (ALP) – Northcote District
  • Bridget Vallence (Liberal) – Evelyn District.

Pathways to Politics for Women is free for successful applicants. Prospective participants can view the eligibility requirements and apply at: Key dates for the 2019 program will be announced early next year.