Pathways to Politics Recipient of 2021 Eve Mahlab AO Gender-Wise Philanthropy Award

The Australian Philanthropy Awards recognise and celebrate extraordinary achievements in contemporary philanthropy for work that is visionary, high impact and transformative. They also celebrate partnerships between philanthropy and for-purpose organisations and honour those who are working to create lasting, positive change.


Today, the 2021 Australian Philanthropy Awards named the Trawalla Foundation, Women's Leadership Institute Australia and the University of Melbourne as co-recipients of the Eve Mahlab AO Gender-wise Philanthropy Award 2021 for their high impact Pathways to Politics Program for Women.


The Award is presented by Australians Investing In Women in partnership with Philanthropy Australia to showcase initiatives that strengthen society through philanthropic investments that target women and girls and deliver greater gender equality.


"We are just thrilled to win the Eve Mahlab AO Gender-Wise Philanthropy Award and want to acknowledge the amazing role model Eve Mahlab has been in pushing for greater gender equality in this country.

"Unfortunately, Australian women are still significantly underrepresented across all levels of politics, limiting their participation in public life and, crucially, the decision-making shaping our nation," says Sarah Buckley, Chief of Staff for Carol Schwartz AO and CEO of Trawalla Foundation.

Now in its sixth year, the Pathways to Politics Program for Women is a non-partisan initiative equipping diverse women with the skills, knowledge, and networks to succeed in running for elected office and to thrive as political leaders.


"'Pathways' is designed as a collaborative network of state programs based at Australian universities. It commenced with our fabulous founding partner the University of Melbourne (UoM). QUT and UNSW have since joined, and over time it will become available to women across Australia.

"We’re very proud that the Pathways to Politics Program for Women is genuinely changing the face of politics in Australia, thank you again for the award,” says Buckley.


Program Director at UoM, Dr Meredith Martin, noted that Carol Schwartz AO’s catalytic support of the Program has been critical to it success.


“Carol Schwartz came to the University of Melbourne with a roadmap for change, and the Program’s extraordinary impact is testimony to the clarity of her vision,” Dr Martin said.


"Six years ago, we launched the Pathways to Politics Program for Women with Professor Glyn Davis AC, the Honourable Julie Bishop and the Honourable Tanya Plibersek in partnership with the University of Melbourne," says Carol Schwartz AO, Founding Chair of the Women's Leadership Institute Australia and Chair of Trawalla Foundation.

"Today the Program’s aspirations are taking effect, with 14 of the program’s alumni successfully elected to federal, state, and local government and the majority of alumni indicating they will run in the next ten years. The Program is now also partnered with QUT and UNSW, with other states set to follow. Through this network, we are accomplishing real change.

"It has been such a privilege to contribute to the advancement of women in political life and I am grateful to UoM Program Director Dr Meredith Martin and my Chief of Staff Sarah Buckley who have worked tirelessly to realise the program’s vision and demonstrated a true model of partnership and collaboration. It is wonderful to be acknowledged by Philanthropy Australia as recipients of the Eve Mahlab AO Gender-wise Philanthropy Award 2021, and we have no doubt the program will continue to go from strength to strength in the coming years!” says Schwartz.