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 works with Faine show to achieve equal media airtime for women

By | October 31st, 2016

Our Executive Director, Amy Mullins, spoke to Jon Faine on the ‘secret project’ which was undertaken by ‘Mornings with Jon Faine’ Producers Dan Ziffer and Harriet Lonnborn (with a little help from WLIA) to ensure women get equal airtime.

The show went from featuring 33% female voices per week, to 50% female voices just three months later.

WLIA applauds Ziffer and Lonnborn for the great achievements they have made – showing that achieving gender balance is possible when there is commitment and action from those in a position of leadership and influence.

Further coverage on the project:

The Age, Our secret project to give women equal media airtime

ABC News, Faine show reveals secret project to give women equal airtime


The secret project to give women equal media airtime

By Daniel Ziffer | October 25th, 2016

This article was originally published in The Age on 25 October, 2016.

zifferThere aren’t enough female voices in the media – as presenters, as experts, as people considered newsworthy.

We started a secret project to fix it.

Concerned about the small number of female voices on-air, as hosts, regular guests and callers, I contacted Amy Mullins from the Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia, an organisation trying to fix the gender imbalance in visible and significant positions.

The WLIA website allows you to directly contact over 200 women executives, leaders and thinkers across a broad range of industries and disciplines. These women have put their hand up to speak in the media and on conference panels.

Producer Harriet Lonnborn and I met Mullins, who detailed some of the ways that women are excluded from the national conversation: quoted less frequently in the news, writing only a fraction of the opinion pieces printed in newspapers (yes, I am aware this isn’t helping) and appearing less frequently on TV and radio as experts.

Running the ”Mornings with Jon Faine” radio program we decided to do what we could in our tiny corner of the media world to change things.

We’d never really counted what the gender ratio of our guests was, so we set ourselves the obvious target of 50 per cent of female guests on-air.

Easy, we thought.

The first day was … terrible. We had just one female voice out of 11 guests. That’s 9 per cent.

The first week was 33 per cent overall – the same ratio as the months before we started our project.

It didn’t take long to work out why: we’re starting every day behind.

Our host is male. Of our long-standing regular weekly guests, just six of 15 are female. Their fill-ins are pretty much the same ratio.

Of the popular irregular guests, the Premier, Opposition Leader, Lord Mayor, Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, the heads of the public transport system, road network and emergency services all are male.

So for other experts we used the institute’s website, contacts at universities and our most useful tool: pleading.

A consistent issue was the propensity of capable, storied women to defer our enquiries to similarly-qualified men. Chief executives suggested their chair would be a better spokesperson, doctors with decades of experience would say they were unqualified to talk about a sector of their specialty

Mullins explains that this reticence isn’t about a lack of belief.

“Research shows it’s just not the case that women are less confident in themselves than men,” she said. “They are however, less confident that others will recognise and be receptive to their capabilities – and in the context of media – that they’ll be seen as credible or expert sources.”

A further issue is that seeing women in expert positions is still, astonishingly, a surprise.

“We are quite used to seeing men as an ‘authority’ on topics in the media, but less so for women. Elevating women’s voices in the media will go a long way to shifting traditional gender norms and expectations of how women, and men, should act. And that has positive effects for everyone,” Mullins adds.

It’s a long road, but one worth jogging down.

Next time you’re stopped at the lights, peering down the road at a bus stop or avoiding old magazines in a waiting room, look around.

What you’ll see is modern Australia: an amazing and harmonious mix of men and women from here and around the world. According to the last census, more than a quarter of Australians are born overseas, and another 20 per cent on top of that have a parent born overseas.

Few media organisations are hitting the mark on representing our community to the degree they should, so any steps to improve that will help.

Our project to get more female voices on air was just a start.

We were able to add exciting new voices across the broad range of fields we cover and our show now better represents the community it serves.

We want everyone to be a part of the conversation and in a recent week, just three months after we started, 50 per cent of our voices were female.

You know, like society.

Daniel Ziffer is senior producer, Mornings with Jon Faine, 774 ABC Melbourne. These are his personal views.

 

Further coverage on the project here.

Categories: Women for Media

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.