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Carol Schwartz talks Pathways to Politics on ABC TV

By | May 4th, 2017

WLIA’s Founding Chairperson Carol Schwartz appeared on ABC News Breakfast to discuss this year’s Pathways to Politics Program for Women and why it’s so important to see gender balanced leadership in our parliaments.


Amy Mullins on the struggle to balance politics and family life, Sky News

By Women's Leadership Institute Australia | March 10th, 2017

WLIA Executive Director, Amy Mullins visited the Sky News Melbourne studio to speak with Ashleigh Gillon about Kate Ellis MP’s retirement from politics, the difficulties parliamentarians face in balancing politics and family life and what needs to change.

“Politics is one of those areas which is really behind in changing its workplace policies. We often see politics as not a workplace… but it is. It has other demands on politicians’ time, but I think that means we should actually be more innovative in how we do politics and ask – what could we change to make it easier for politicians to do their jobs, but also be with their families and be personally fulfilled? And that’s something that will make them better politicians.”


Applications for Pathways to Politics are now open!

By Women's Leadership Institute Australia | February 28th, 2017

Have you ever considered running for elected office?

After a successful 2016 pilot program launched in Canberra by The Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP and The Hon. Julie Bishop MP, the Melbourne School of Government’s Pathways to Politics Program for Women is calling for 2017 applicants.

Designed to address the under-representation of women in Australian politics, program participants will hear from current and former MPs along with local and international experts in media, polling, networking, campaigning and speechwriting.

The Program is an initiative of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA), made possible by a generous donation to the University of Melbourne from the Trawalla Foundation established by the Schwartz family.  Ms Carol Schwartz AM, Founding Chair of WLIA, says last year’s pilot program was a great success with several women already embarking on political careers.

“The program has given a cohort of incredible women from across the political spectrum the skills, support and networks they need to run for office. It’s critical to have men and women share power at the highest levels of leadership and decision-making – that’s why we initiated the Pathways to Politics Program for Women,” says Ms Schwartz.

Two of last year’s fellows – Susanne Newton and Stephanie Amir – were recently elected as councillors in the City of Darebin and two others – Olivia Ball and Sarah Mansfield – ran as candidates in the federal election and had significant swings towards them.

Olivia then went head-to-head against popular Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle, and received the second-highest number of votes, beating more experienced politician Phil Cleary.

Recently, Bridget Vallence won pre-selection for the safe Liberal seat of Evelyn, in Victoria.

Based on Harvard University’s “From Harvard Square to Oval Office”, the non-partisan program equips 25 women from diverse backgrounds with the skills, networks and confidence they need to seek elected office at a federal, state or local level.

Free for successful applicants, the Pathways to Politics Program for Women runs from June to November this year.  Prospective participants can view the eligibility requirements and apply here. Applications close at 11.59pm on April 4th 2017.


Vic Minister Philip Dalidakis Australia’s first politician to take the Panel Pledge

By | December 7th, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE (From the State Government)

Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis tonight took the Panel Pledge to get more female leaders from STEM and business represented in Victoria’s industry panels and conferences.

PledgeIndustryPanelssmThe pledge was made at an event co-hosted by the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA), who also launched the inaugural WLIA Media and Panel Pledge Awards.

The awards will recognise and celebrate individuals and organisations who achieve the greatest impact in their implementation of the Panel Pledge, as well as media professionals who achieve gender balance in their stories.

By taking the Panel Pledge, Mr Dalidakis chooses to only participate in panels and consider government funding for conferences and events that have clear 50/50 gender representation in their speakers.

The WLIA initiated the Panel Pledge in Australia in 2013 to address gender imbalances often seen on panels and at conferences. It was immediately taken up by the Male Champions of Change movement, under the leadership of former Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick AO.

While women make up 46 per cent of Australia’s workforce, it is estimated that they make up less than 15 per cent of panellists in industry events across the country.

The pledge comes just days after the Andrews Labor Government unveiled Safe and Strong: A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy.

Victoria’s first ever gender equality strategy includes a series of landmark reforms to support women and girls – a Gender Equality Act, gender audits across government and public sector, scholarships to encourage young and emerging women leaders and hosting the first all women trade delegation to China.

The Labor Government has been leading the push for gender diversity in Victoria since it first introduced a requirement for equal representation in all public boardrooms. The average proportion of women on government and public boards now sits at 49 per cent, a considerable jump from 39 per cent just six months ago.


Women experts significantly underrepresented in Australia’s newsprint media

By Women's Leadership Institute Australia | December 7th, 2016

Carol-PanelPledgeNew research from the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA) shows that women are significantly underrepresented as sources and experts in the Australian newsprint media, with female sources representing just 21 per cent of all commentary.

The Women for Media Report 2016 analysed over 6000 articles across six major print publications – The Australian Financial Review, The Australian, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Herald Sun, and The Daily Telegraph – between 1 February to 21 February 2016.

The report was launched this evening at an event at Parliament House with The Hon. Philip Dalidakis, Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade. The event was co-hosted by WLIA and the Minister to promote the importance of gender balance in the media and on panels.

Key findings include:

  • Women account for just 21 per cent of sources directly quoted in news articles
  • The Australian Financial Review (AFR) (15 per cent) and The Australian (16 per cent) featured the lowest proportion of women directly quoted
  • The Herald Sun (28 per cent) and The Daily Telegraph (30 per cent) featured the highest proportion of women directly quoted
  • Women were least quoted in articles on business (13 per cent) and finance (14 per cent), whilst they were quoted most in articles on health (41 per cent), education (39 per cent), and social issues (39 per cent)
  • Overall, female journalists quoted female sources in greater numbers than their male counterparts (27 per cent to 17 per cent, respectively)
  • Male sources were most frequently quoted on topics relating to the ‘ASX’, ‘profits’, ‘China’, ‘tax reform’, and ‘investors’
  • Female sources were most frequently quoted on topics relating to ‘children’, ‘China’, ‘foreign policy’, ‘murder’, and ‘Nauru’
  • Overall 21 per cent of opinion editorials on politics were written by women. Of this, just five per cent were written by female ‘guest’ authors – those not employed as journalists or regular columnists by the publishing newspaper

WLIA’s Founding Chair, Carol Schwartz AM said, “There is no shortage of highly qualified women available to speak across all news topics. Our newspapers and media coverage should reflect the diversity of Australian society, its leaders and its consumers.”

“Not only is it more interesting to hear a diverse range of views but studies show that gender balance gets the best outcomes. Our public discourse is all the poorer for it when women’s voices aren’t heard,” said Schwartz.

WLIA’s Executive Director, Amy Mullins said: “Traditionally, men have often been seen as the ‘authority’ on topics in the media, particularly in business, finance and politics. Elevating women’s voices in the media will go a long way towards shifting traditional gender norms and expectations of what a leader looks like.”

“Women make up 50 per cent of the population and our news coverage should reflect that,” said Mullins.

“We have seen recent successes in the broadcast media with the Mornings with Jon Faine show on 774 ABC Melbourne achieving gender balance in its guests. They have shown that it can be done, but it needs to be seen as business-critical, with strategies put in place to achieve it,” said Mullins.”

“Gender balanced news coverage creates visible role models for both men and women to look to,” said Mullins. 

Other findings

  • All publications featured relatively low levels of female representation in business news – female sources quoted in business articles ranged from 11 per cent in The Australian to 23 per cent in The Daily Telegraph
  • Where a source’s position contained the words, ‘CEO’, ‘Founder’, ‘Executive Director’, or ‘Managing Director’, just 14 per cent were female
  • Where a source’s position contained the words, ‘Analyst’, ‘Economist’ or ‘Strategist’, just nine per cent were female

About the Report

The Women for Media Report 2016 is an extensive analysis of the gender balance of sources and experts quoted in the Australian print media over a three-week period, from 1 February 2016 to 21 February 2016. The ‘opinion’ sections of the same publications were analysed over the full month of February 2016.

The Women for Media Report 2016 is unique in its breadth and depth of gender analysis for both news and opinion articles in the Australian newsprint media.

Over 6000 articles were analysed across six major Australian newsprint publications from February 2016 – The Australian Financial Review, The Australian, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Herald Sun, and The Daily Telegraph.

The research encompasses all articles from the general news, business and related news, finance news, and ‘opinion’ sections of each newspaper. This excludes designated arts, lifestyle, entertainment, sport, and world sections, as well as magazines and lift-outs.

About Women for Media

Women for Media (www.womenformedia.com.au) is an online database and network of Australia’s top female leaders in business, finance, the not-for-profit sector and government. It provides journalists and conference organisers with direct access to the contacts of leaders available to speak, in order to reduce barriers to achieving gender diversity of sources and experts.


WLIA on Sky News talking about women in politics

By Women's Leadership Institute Australia | August 1st, 2016

Our Executive Director, Amy Mullins, joined Ashleigh Gillon in the Sky News Melbourne studio to talk about the news that the 45th Parliament will see the lowest levels of female MPs in a Coalition government in 20 years. They also discussed ways in which we can increase the number of women elected. Angela Priestley, Editor of Women’s Agenda, joined the discussion from Sydney.

Amy references new research about quotas and their effectiveness in increasing the number of female politicians in a nation. If you’re interesting in reading more about it, read Dr Victor Sojo’s article here.