The ‘Pathways to Politics Program for Women’ will be delivered by the University of Melbourne to female graduate students and alumni, and is designed to provide the support and training necessary to aspire to elected office at local, state and national levels.
The Program was made possible by a donation from the Trawalla Foundation established by the Schwartz family. The Foundation invests in social enterprises that demonstrate innovation and leadership in their area of social impact, including the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia.
Ms Carol Schwartz AM, Chair of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, said “Currently women occupy fewer than 30% of Australian parliamentary positions, which is considerably lower than our international counterparts. So I am thrilled to be launching a non-partisan program designed to help bridge the gap.”
The University of Melbourne program is modelled on the From Harvard Square to the Oval Office program, offered through the Kennedy School at Harvard University.
The ‘Pathways to Politics Program for Women’ will be based within the Melbourne School of Government, an interdisciplinary school that connects the University community with politicians, industry leaders and civil society organisations and provides a platform for informed, independent debate on contemporary policy and governance issues of significance to the future of Australia and our region.
Director of the Melbourne School of Government, Professor Helen Sullivan, said the course was a non-partisan program encompassing seminars and guest speakers from across the political spectrum including public policy experts and leading figures in Australian political life.
“Program participants will learn from members of parliament, campaign strategists, advisors, consultants and elected officials and we anticipate that graduates of the US and Australian programs will form part of an international network of women in office,” Professor Sullivan said.
In its first year the ‘Pathways to Politics Program for Women’ will be open to University of Melbourne graduate students and alumni. Prospective students can register for information online at the program’s website.