Pathways to Politics launches in Northern Territory to help more women pursue public office

Women aspiring to become politicians are encouraged to apply for the Pathways to Politics Program for Women which aims to push for gender equity in government, run for the first time in the Northern Territory by Charles Darwin University (CDU).


Announced this morning in Darwin by CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman, Northern Territory Administrator Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AO and Dean of the College of Indigenous Futures, Education and the Arts Professor Ruth Wallace, the program is now open for applications for female-identifying and non-binary residents of the NT.


The non-partisan program, being run through CDU’s Northern Institute, 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.

“I am very proud to be Patron of The Pathways to Politics Program for Women. It is changing the face of politics in our nation and beyond,” says Northern Territory Administrator Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AO.

“The Northern Territory parliament is a leading example, with seven out of nine Ministers being women lead by our Chief Minister, the Honourable Natasha Fyles. We have numerous other women leading the way in politics including our Leader of the Opposition, Mrs Lia Finocchiaro and the Mayor of Palmerston, Mrs Athina Pascoe-Bell.”

“This dynamic program has partnered with Charlies Darwin University to provide Territory women with a pathway to pursue a career in politics. Its practical and experiential format will prepare participants for public office.”

“Through this program, women will be breaking the bias and achieving goals for gender equality. While there have been huge steps made in the more equitable representation, there is a long road still to go,” Professor Bowman said.


Dean of the College of Indigenous Futures, Education and the Arts Professor Ruth Wallace said women’s political voices are crucial in effective policy development, engagement, and implementation.


“Politics is where decisions are made for the future of our country, so strong women’s voices, Aboriginal women and people from diverse backgrounds, are the voices that are vital and need to be heard,” Professor Wallace said.


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 more than 20 years I've been passionate about improving the quality of leadership and decision-making in Australia,” Ms Schwartz said.


“Sadly, Australia continues to suffer from a chronic underrepresentation of women in leadership positions and currently ranks as 50th in the world when it comes to the representation of women in government.”


Pathways to Politics Program for Women has realised significant impact in advancing female political participation since it launched in 2016, with 21 electoral successes achieved nationally across the political spectrum at local, state and federal levels of government.

The majority of alums intend to run for elected office in the next ten years.


CDU is the fourth Australian university partner to run the Pathways to Politics for Women program, which will run for two months across October and November. The program is committed to diversity and supports a strong and inclusive cohort culture.


This initiative developed by founding partners - the Trawalla Foundation, Women’s Leadership Institute Australia and the University of Melbourne - seeks to address the underrepresentation of women in Australian politics, and is delivered in partnership with state and territory-based university partners the University of Melbourne (UoM), Queensland University of Technology (QUT), University of New South Wales (UNSW) and now Charles Darwin University (CDU).


Apply today or tap a friend on the shoulder. Applications close 11:59pm 9 September 2022. Learn more at the Pathways to Politics national website.