The Pathways to Politics media page highlights articles, editorials and information related to the program.

ABC News

ABC News covered a special session of the Pathways to Politics program, including interviews with current fellows and alumni. The feature also includes footage of fellows delivering speeches in the Victorian Parliament.

Produced by: Helen Vines

ABC News Breakfast

The Pathways to Politics Program for Women was featured on ABC Weekend Breakfast on 4 November 2017.

In the segment, the program’s academic coordinator Dr Andrea Carson discusses the poor representation of women in Australian politics and how the Pathways to Politics Program seeks to address this issue.

Produced by: Dale Drinkwater

To Quota or not to Quota

With the captains of industry failing to appoint women to the top table - The Policy Shop asks - should gender quotas in the workforce be mandatory?

Program aims to boost women in politics

Australia ranks 50th in the world for representation of women in parliament, behind countries including Algeria and Ethiopia. A program in Melbourne is trying a new way of tackling the inequality by training aspiring female politicians to get elected. AM's Claire Slattery went along to the launch of The Pathways to Politics program to meet some hopeful future leaders.

The new course getting more women into Australian politics

Australian politics has extremely low levels of female participation compared to other developed democracies, but one program is aiming to change this.

Melbourne University's Pathway to Politics for Women has launched for 2017 following the success of its pilot program last year.

The Conversation Hour with Jon Faine

Dr Andrea Carson - photo from

Jon Faine's co-host is Dr Andrea Carson. She's a lecturer in Media and Politics at University of Melbourne where she is also an honorary fellow at the Centre for Advancing Journalism.

Carol Schwartz talks on ABC News Breakfast

Carol Schwartz AM
Carol Schwartz AM - photo courtesy of

Carol Schwartz AM joined ABC News Breakfast to discuss the second year of the Pathways to Politics Program for Women at the Melbourne School of Government

Amy Mullins on Sky News

Amy Mullins
Amy Mullins on Sky News

Sky News Host Ashleigh Gillon interviews Amy Mullins, Executive Director of the Women's Leadership Institute Australia and Angela Priestley, Editor of Women's Agenda on 13/7/2016. They discussed the record low levels of women MPs in the Coalition government in 2016. They also discussed what can be done to increase the number of women in politics.

Liberal preselection for Evelyn: Bridget Vallence bags prized safe Liberal seat

Bridget Vallence
Bridget Vallence - Photo courtesy of

Pathways to Politics alumna Bridget Vallence from the Liberal Party has been preselected for the safe seat of Evelyn for the 2018 state election.

Why the next editor-in-chief at The Age should be a woman

The departing words of The Age’s editor-in-chief, Mark Forbes, who resigned this week amid allegations of sexual harassment, spoke to a gender ideal at a time of reputational damage for the newspaper:

… our dealings with all women must be respectful and equitable at all times.

The Age Newspaper Building

These words reflect the socially progressive agenda (relative to the times) of the 159-year-old masthead from the days of the Syme brothers to the digital age. Yet, as progressive as The Age can be, why has it never had a female editor-in-chief?

The answer is clearly more complex than the paper’s editorial position. It leads to a much broader conversation about gender representation in Australia’s public and private institutions.



With Australia sliding steadily down the world ranks of female political representation, a new University program is preparing to light the path for aspiring women politicians. Gay Alcorn reports.

Women of influence
Women of influence: Cathy McGowan, Julia Gillard, Julie Bishop, Kelly O’Dwyer and Sophie Mirabella

Cathy McGowan AO became a politician when she was nearly 60. But the independent member for Indi was hardly a political novice when she won the northeastern Victorian seat in 2013. She had spent much of her adult life in politics of one sort or another, especially as founding member and later president of Women in Agriculture – lobbying, networking, pushing to get things done. McGowan (DipEd 1976), now 62, has some advice for women thinking seriously about a political career: you’ve got to learn the skills, preferably before you stand as a candidate. And even before that, you’ve got to work out what you really care about.

"The first thing I'd want to say is you've got to work out yourself what your platform is," she says. "There's not much point unless you've got a bit of vision about what you’ve got to say and that takes a lot of work to refine."



We know women are underrepresented in politics. Instead of wringing our hands, we must take positive steps to change that. By Professor Helen Sullivan. March 8, 2016, The Age newspaper

Image of a mother
Female politicians often find themselves pulled in many directions.

Seven out of every 10 members of Parliament are men. Imagine for a moment if, instead, five out of 10 members were women. Let's go further. What if in all levels of government women were represented equally as MPs, as ministers, on commissions, and in local councils?

If you believe there would be differences, then you must think having more women in government could fundamentally change our society. I agree, and evidence bears this out.

What if policies were debated on their merit, rather than attacked to score short-term political gains? A recent study by Sarah Anzia, at Stanford University, and Christopher Berry, at the University of Chicago, on US congressional representation found that congresswomen sponsor more bills and obtain more co-sponsorships for their legislation than their male colleagues do.

Read more…


Australia needs to develop multiple ways to bring more women into the political pipeline and help them succeed. By Professor Carolyn Evans, Dean, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

Australian parliaments continue to lag behind many Australian workplaces and other countries when it comes to participation by women.

The Inter-Parliamentary Association lists Australia at 45 in the world for representation of women and an Australian Parliament Library report shows women make up somewhere between a quarter and a third of members in the Commonwealth and all state parliaments except Tasmania (where representation has reached 37.5%).

This is despite Australia being an international leader in enfranchising women and giving them the right to stand for Parliament.

The problems of under-representation are multiple and require complex, multi-faceted solutions. There has been much debate about the merits of quota systems and they deserve serious consideration. Here are four issues that need to be considered in addition or alternatively to quota systems to increase women’s representation.

Read more…


"Ditch the Witch" marked a new low in Australian politics, but how much has changed for female political candidates in 2016? By Sonia Harford. May 21, 2016 in The Age newspaper

Meghan Hopper
Aspiring Labor candidate Meghan Hopper says only by putting women into safely-held seats will parties move towards meeting gender quotas. Photo: Daniel Pockett

Shorten or Turnbull have yet to face a poisonous insult such as that, once levelled at former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and it's unlikely they will. Neither are they likely to be called the modern-day equivalent of "Bob Brown's bitch" or face the "dirt sheets" filled with sexual innuendo that intimidate other women in politics.

Outbreaks of such vitriol show Australia has a distinct problem with women and politics, according to the developers of a new university course designed for women.

Read more…

More information

Sonia Harford. "Behind great women Dame Quentin Bryce prods and says 'Get in there!'" on The Sydney Morning Herald website, June 5, 2016

Related articles

Salena Zito. "Gender gap in politics still wide as family obligations, lack of mentorship keep women from running" on the TribLIVE website, June 10, 2016

Lori Beaman, Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, Esther Duflo, Rohini Pande and Petia Topalova. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?" on the Gender Action Portal website.

Pathways to Politics Launch

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