We catalyse practical initiatives for change, often in collaboration with strategic partners locally and internationally. We aim to demonstrate what is possible and encourage other organisations to join and amplify the impact.

Pathways to Politics

Pathways to Politics Program for Women is changing the face of politics. It seeks to increase female participation in politics by equipping women with the skills and knowledge to succeed in running for elected office, and to thrive as political leaders.

Now in its fifth year, the Program is a non-partisan initiative borne out of a partnership between the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, Trawalla Foundation and founding partner Melbourne School of Government at the University of Melbourne. In 2020 the Program commenced in QUT Queensland and will be expanded to other states over time. It is modelled on the Harvard Kennedy School's From Harvard Square to the Oval Office program.

In just five years, the program has created meaningful pathways to electoral success, including one program alumna elected to federal government, three program alumna to state government, and six program alumna to local government.


Women for Media

You can’t be what you can’t see.

Lack of media coverage perpetuates the inequality. Through research, working in partnership with media organisations, facilitating media training, and maintaining our database of Australian women leaders, WLIA is committed to elevating women to gain equal impact on the public conversation across print, online, radio and TV.  

Panel Pledge

In 2012 the Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia joined with the Male Champions of Change and Chief Executive Women to launch the Panel Pledge in support of gender diversity at every public forum.

This is our Pledge:


As business and community leaders, Chief Executive Women, Women’s Leadership Institute Australia and Male Champions of Change, have united to achieve radical improvements in women’s representation in public and professional forums.

This includes being prepared to call out imbalances when they see them. The Panel Pledge is a simple, practical example of actions CEOs can take to influence system-wide change on gender equality and advancing women in leadership.

We will honour the Panel Pledge when invited to speak. We pledge to increase the visibility and contribution of women leaders in public and professional forums.

We are proud to support gender diversity at every public forum and invite all Australian leaders to commit to the Panel Pledge. We hope you will join us!

Take the pledge, download the icon and proudly display your commitment to diversity in your organisation.

The attached resource provides ideas on how to extend the pledge to executive teams, include the pledge as part of sponsorship and supplier agreements, and how to run gender balanced conferences, from speakers all the way through to audience attendance.


The Women's Leadership Institute Australia Research Fellowship funds the professional time of an individual or team breaking new ground in the service of advancing gender equality.


Fellowships are awarded with the support of an appropriate research institution. Recipients of the WLIA Fellowship are supported to pursue their stated pursuits.


From 2010-2015, Women’s Leadership Institute Australia partnered with Chief Executive Women to award two full scholarships to exceptional Australian women leaders to the Women’s Leadership Forum at Harvard Business School. One scholarship was awarded to a woman in the corporate sector and the second scholarship to a woman working in the government or not-for-profit sectors.

Women’s Leadership Institute Australia and CEW believe that education and development opportunities help build leadership success. By providing this scholarship to a leading international university, we re-enforce our belief that a global perspective is a key element for visionary leadership.

Dr Ramona Vijeyarasa, recipient of the 2020 Women’s Leadership Institute Australia Research Fellowship