Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Pathways to Politics Program for Women?

    The Pathways to Politics Program for Women is a national, proudly non-partisan initiative that 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.

    This initiative of the Trawalla Foundation, Women’s Leadership Institute Australia and University of Melbourne seeks to address the under representation of women in Australian politics, and is delivered in partnership with state and territory-based university partners the University of Melbourne, QUT, UNSW and Charles Darwin University.

    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 Carol this is about optimising outcomes for our country by ensuring that men and women together share power, leadership and decision making.

    The program was developed in consultation with the Harvard Kennedy School, inspired by their long-running From Harvard Square to the Oval Office practicum. The foundational Pathways to Politics Program for Women launched at University of Melbourne in 2016, followed by QUT in 2019, UNSW in 2021 and Charles Darwin University in 2022. More states and territories will follow over time. The program partners are proud to work collaboratively to increase women’s representation in politics across Australia.

    Pathways to Politics brings together significant expertise and experience from across Australia’s political spectrum to provide participants with networking opportunities and practical training that emphasises good governance, ethics and leadership. The program supports a strong and inclusive cohort culture.

    The program curriculum is delivered in a practical, experiential format, with modules covering topics such as political vision, campaign planning, media training, speech-writing and leadership skills.

  • Am I eligible to apply?

    Please note there are specific eligibility requirements for this program. We request that applicants confirm their eligibility at the beginning of the application in response to the following criteria:

    1. I am an Australian citizen/Australian permanent resident/holder of a permanent Humanitarian Visa.
    2. I am female-identifying or non-binary in gender identification.
    3. I am a Victorian resident.
  • How many participants will there be?

    In 2022, the University of Melbourne program will accept up to 30 participants.

  • How are participants selected?

    Participants are 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 are reviewed by a Selection Committee, which place a strong emphasis on multi-partisanship and equity in selection and seeks a cohort of women with diverse professional and life experiences.

    The program provides a safe space for women of diverse backgrounds, professions, cultures, and ideologies to fulfil their shared aspiration to pursue public office.

  • When will I know if my application was successful?

    Applicants will be notified of outcomes in mid-June 2022.

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

    The University of Melbourne program is comprised of 10 modules, the majority held on Thursday evenings, with two modules offered intensively on Saturdays. In 2022 the program will run from mid-July and conclude in early November, with breaks to account for school holidays.

    The 2022 University of Melbourne program will be delivered both in face-to-face and online formats, with the majority of modules delivered face-to-face (subject to public health advice). Those who are accepted into the program must be able to attend a minimum of eight scheduled modules.

    Planned module dates and times are listed below (these dates may be subject to change):

    1. Saturday 16 July 2022, 9:00am-5:00pm
    2. Thursday 21 July 2022, 5:30pm-9:30pm
    3. Thursday 28 July 2022, 5:30pm-9:30pm
    4. Thursday 04 August 2022, 5:30pm-9:30pm
    5. Saturday 20 August 2022, 9:00am-5:00pm
    6. Thursday 08 September 2022 5:30pm-9:30pm
    7. Thursday 06 October 2022, 5:30pm-9:30pm
    8. Thursday 13 October 2022, 5:30pm-9:30pm
    9. Thursday 27 October 2022, 5:00pm-9:30pm
    10. Thursday 03 November 2022, 5:30pm-9:30pm

    Note: We understand that participants in the program may have care giving responsibilities or other commitments. We schedule dinner breaks into sessions, and it will not be a problem if small children need to be present during sessions delivered online.

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

    In accepting a place in the Pathways to Politics Program for Women participants agree to attend at least 80% of Program modules in order to meet the hurdle requirement for completion.

  • What costs are associated with the program?

    The University of Melbourne program is generously supported by the Trawalla Foundation and the University of Melbourne and offered FREE to selected participants. 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?

    The University of Melbourne Pathways to Politics Program for Women application is comprised of four sections:

    • Eligibility questions: These short questions help our Selection Committee to determine your eligibility for the program.
    • Scenario-based questions: These questions will help us understand more about your personal and professional leadership experience, political aspirations and commitment to run, and your engagement with Australian politics and policy.
    • CV: We ask you to submit a CV that is no longer than three pages and includes three referees.
    • 90-second Video: This provides an opportunity for you to pitch what you will bring to the program and what impact you can make in the political realm.