Women aspiring to become politicians are encouraged to apply for a new program run for the first time in the Territory by Charles Darwin University (CDU), which aims to push for gender equity in government.
More women will be supported to thrive in their political careers in the Territory, thanks to the CDU Pathways to Politics Program for Women, a free new leadership program that aims to increase women’s representation in public office.
The non-partisan program, being run through CDU’s Northern Institute, aims to change the face of politics by equipping women with the skills, knowledge, confidence, and networks they need to run for elected office and thrive as political leaders.
The Pathways to Politics Program has had a significant impact in advancing female political participation since it launched in 2016, with 21 electoral successes achieved nationally across local, state, and federal levels of government. Most alums intend to run for elected office in the next ten years.
Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AO, Administrator of the Northern Territory, CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman AO, and College of Indigenous Futures Education and the Arts Dean, Professor Ruth Wallace have announced the program this morning.
Her Honour O’Halloran said she was very proud to be patron of the Pathways to Politics Program for Women as it was changing the face of politics in Australia and beyond.
“The Northern Territory parliament is a leading example, with seven out of nine Ministers being women lead by our Chief Minister, the Honourable Natasha Fyles. We have numerous other women leading the way in politics including our Leader of the Opposition, Mrs Lia Finocchiaro and the Mayor of Palmerston, Mrs Athina Pascoe-Bell ,” Her Honour O’Halloran said.
“This dynamic program has partnered with Charlies Darwin University (CDU) to provide Territory women with a pathway to pursue a career in politics. Its practical and experiential format will prepare participants for public office.”
CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Bowman said the program aims to help women demystify government and aims to address the underrepresentation of women in Australian politics across the three tiers of government in Australia.
“Through this program, women will be breaking the bias and achieving goals for gender equality. While there have been huge steps made in the more equitable representation, there is a long road still to go,” Professor Bowman said.
Professor Wallace said women’s political voices are crucial in effective policy development, engagement, and implementation.
“Politics is where decisions are made for the future of our country, so strong women’s voices, Aboriginal women and people from diverse backgrounds, are the voices that are vital and need to be heard,” Professor Wallace said.
Pathways to Politics was initiated through the vision of Carol Schwartz AO, Chair of the Trawalla Foundation, who fundamentally believes in the value of more female leaders.
“For more than 20 years I’ve been passionate about improving the quality of leadership and decision-making in Australia,” Ms Schwartz said.
“Sadly, Australia continues to suffer from a chronic underrepresentation of women in leadership positions and currently ranks as 50th in the world when it comes to the representation of women in government.”
After the 2019 Federal Election, there were 45 women elected to the House of Representatives. Following the 2022 Federal Election, that figure increased to 58 female members in May this year.
CDU is the fourth Australian university partner to run the Pathways to Politics for Women program, which will run for two months across October and November.
This initiative developed by founding partners – the Trawalla Foundation, Women’s Leadership Institute Australia and the University of Melbourne which seeks to address the underrepresentation of women in Australian politics.
The program is delivered in partnership with the University of Melbourne (UoM), Queensland University of Technology (QUT), University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Charles Darwin University (CDU).