Pathways to Politics welcomes new fellows for 2018

The 2018 Pathways to Politics for Women program launched on 28 July, with this year’s cohort bringing together 25 women from diverse political, professional and cultural backgrounds.

2018 Fellows at the launch of the Pathways to Politics for Women program

Fellows at the launch of the 2018 Pathways to Politics Program for Women. 

Now in its third year, the non-partisan Pathways to Politics program aims to address the under-representation of women in Australian politics by providing women with the skills, networks, support and confidence to seek elected office at a federal, state or local level.

Melbourne School of Government Assistant Director Dr Avery Poole said this year’s fellows each brought unique experiences to the program.

“Our 2018 cohort brings together women from a range of careers including medicine, teaching, marketing, international development, consulting, public policy, law and engineering,” Dr Poole said.

“Recent media discussion about the number of women in Australian politics demonstrates the value of and need for a program like Pathways to Politics.”

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

Ms Carol Schwartz AM, Founding Chair of WLIA, said the Pathways to Politics program had already demonstrated its value, with fellows from across the three years having run in elections or preparing to run in the Victorian election this year.

“Since the commencement of the program, three fellows have been elected to local government, three others have run in other elections and a further six have been preselected to run in the Victorian election in November,” Ms Schwartz said.

“It is exciting to see the contribution our fellows are making to address the under-representation of women in our political system.

“The Pathways to Politics program provides women with the skills and confidence to stand for election, but also creates supportive networks and we hope that our fellows go on to support other women considering a political career.”

Fellows will take part in a series of workshops with leaders from across the political spectrum, who will share their own experiences of political life and provide practical advice on campaigning, managing ethical concerns, policy making and political communication.

This year’s program includes speakers such as Victorian Greens Leader Samantha Ratnam, Minister for Women and Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer, Shadow Minister for Justice and Shadow Minister for Financial Services Clare O’Neil, founder and leader of Reason and Victorian Member for Northern Metropolitan Region Fiona Patten and former chief of staff to the Prime Minister Peta Credlin.

Fellows will participate in 10 workshops across a three-month period culminating in a presentation of mock speeches in the Victorian Parliament.

Image from left to right: Back row: Lizzie O’Shea, Kelly Griffiths, Cindy O’Connor, Romi Goldschlager, Jessica Marsh, Linh Do, Lucy Carter, Alexandra Sinickas, Sabina Curatolo, Stephanie Milione, Sahema Saberi, Sarah Buckley (Trawalla Foundation)

Second row: Chris Cheng (Melbourne School of Government), Charlotte Newbold, Rachael Littore, Tara Whitehead, Rehema Abdi, Gaelle Broad, Beth Stewart-Wright, Jennifer Holdstock, Tania Davidge, Hillary Field, Penny Scott, the Hon John Brumby AO, Julianna Addison (past fellow), Professor John Howe (Melbourne School of Government)

Front Row: Meredith Martin (University of Melbourne), Rebecca Treloar, Nicole Blair, Margaret Fitzherbert MLC, Harriet Shing MP, Abiola Ajetomobi, Cr Cathy Oke, Professor Carolyn Evans (University of Melbourne). Image Credit: Naomi Sykes, Artificial Studios