Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Pathways to Politics Program for Women?

    The Pathways to Politics Program for Women is a non-partisan initiative born out of a partnership between the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, Trawalla Foundation and Melbourne School of Government at the University of Melbourne.

    It provides a select group of female graduates from all Victorian universities  with the opportunity to gain the skills and networks to reach elected office at local, state and national levels.

    Modelled on the Harvard Kennedy School program, 'From Harvard Square to the Oval Office', it aims to redress the lack of representation of women in Australian politics.

    The program is led by presenters from across the political spectrum including politicians (both sitting and retired), public speaking professionals, media and campaign strategists, advisors, consultants and public policy experts as well as leading figures in Australian political and public life.

    The structure of each session varies, including panel discussions, workshops, seminars, Q&A discussions, practical work and networking opportunities.

  • Am I eligible to apply for this Program?

    There are specific eligibility requirements for this program. Applicants must:

    • Be an Australian citizen/Australian permanent resident/holder of a permanent Humanitarian Visa, and identify as a woman.
    • Hold an undergraduate and/or an honours, masters or doctoral degree* from a Victorian university;


    • Hold an undergraduate and/or an honours, masters or doctoral degree* from a university outside Victoria and have resided in Victoria for the last five years;


    • Be currently enrolled in a masters or doctoral degree* at a Victorian university

    *Eligibility waivers may be considered in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the Selection Committee Chair, on the basis of a combination of qualifications and experience deemed to be equivalent to a degree.

  • How many participants will there be?

    In 2020, the program will accept up to 30 participants.

  • How are participants selected?

    Participants will be selected on a competitive basis. The selection criteria are as follows:

    • Commitment to seeking elected office
    • Leadership experience
    • Professional and life experience
    • Political engagement
    • Ability to tell your story in a compelling way.

    All applications will be reviewed by panels made up of representatives from the University of Melbourne, Trawalla Foundation and Program alumni. The program emphasises multi-partisanship and seeks a cohort of women with diverse life and professional experiences.

    Candidates will be judged on their written application and video pitch. The selection panel will also take diversity and equity into consideration.

  • When will I know if my application was successful?

    Due to Covid19 contingency planning, there has been a short delay in notifying applicants of their outcome. All applicants will be notified by 22 May 2020.

  • How long does the Program run for? How many sessions will there be?

    The 2020 Program is outlined here. There are ten sessions in the Program with breaks to account for school holidays.

  • Do I have to attend every session of the Program?

    Selected participants are expected to attend at least eight out of the ten sessions. Participants who are not able to commit to at least eight sessions may be asked to withdraw from the program.

  • How much does the Program cost?

    The program is FREE for the selected participants. The Program is generously funded by the Trawalla Foundation and the University of Melbourne. Participants must attend the Program in person. Any flights, ground transfers, accommodation, and other fees associated with attending the program are not included  . Meals will be provided during each session (dietaries catered for on request).

  • What is involved with the application ?

    We have partnered with Applied Recruitment, a platform dedicated to diverse and inclusive recruitment this year. The Pathways to Politics application is comprised of five sections:

    • Equal opportunities questions: This information helps Applied globally to understand how the review process affects different demographic groups. You can read more about how this information is used here
    • Attach your CV: Please ensure your CV is no longer than three pages and includes three referees
    • Eligibility questions: these short questions help our committee to determine your eligibility for the program
    • Sift questions: these five questions will help us understand more about your professional skills including leadership, strategy and your commitment to run. These questions have a 250-word limit
    • Record a video and upload it to our Dropbox account: this video provides an opportunity for you to pitch what you will bring to the Program and what impact you can make in the political realm