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'Pathways to Politics' - Government House Reception

On Wednesday 21 April we were delighted to be hosted by Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria and Mr Anthony Howard AM QC, at Government House Victoria in support of the Pathways to Politics Program for Women.

The evening provided a welcome opportunity for new graduates to celebrate person after undertaking the Program almost completely online in 2020 and commenced with a special address and Q&A by Mr Joshua Puls MVO, Official Secretary to the Governor of Victoria.

Mr Puls shared his deep insights on the role of the Governor’s office in overseeing the workings of the government of the day, to ensure that it acts within the boundaries of the Victorian Constitution and the rule of law.

This was followed by an official welcome from the Governor, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, and Pathways to Politics Program for Women program founder Carol Schwartz AO who recognised the support of the Governor and the commitment of the 2020 cohort to their political studies and career during a pandemic. In 2020 eight of the Program’s 30 participants ran in the Victorian local government elections and two won seats - an incredible outcome in such a challenging year.

The Pathways to Politics Program for Women was launched in partnership with the University of Melbourne in 2016 and 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.

The Program has already achieved remarkable success, with 13 program alumnae from across the political spectrum elected to local, state, and federal government in just five years.

The Program was developed in consultation with the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School with reference to their long-running From Harvard Square to the Oval Office practicum, to redress the underrepresentation of women in Australian politics. Similar independent programs, modelled on the University of Melbourne program, have been launched by QUT in 2019 for women in Queensland, and by UNSW in 2021 for women in New South Wales.

The Victorian Pathways to Politics Program for Women program is now open for applications, to apply see:

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