Breaking barriers and forging pathways towards gender equality in politics

Woman in beanie and warm coat standing outside holding a sign reading TIME FOR CHANGE
Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (GIWL) ANU, May 2024

What is stopping politically engaged women from running for politics – and how can we fix it?

New research from GIWL ANU shines a light on the barriers preventing politically active women and non-binary people from running for office and explore how we can forge pathways towards greater gender equality in politics. The report, prepared in collaboration with Women for Election Australia, asked women and non-binary politically active Australians about the barriers, anticipated support they needed, and systemic changes they would like to see to consider engaging in politics further, including running for political office.

Based on their findings, they propose a series of recommendations for policymakers, parties, the media, and organisations supporting women in politics on how to engage and support more women and gender-diverse candidates in their political careers. 

The four key areas for change include:

  1. Workplace culture – including more inclusive and supportive workplace environments for carers, people with disability, and neurodivergent politicians, and an appropriate code of conduct and regulation at all government levels
  2. Financial training and support – including better access to information, training and financial support for candidates from underrepresented communities
  3. Political training, diverse role models, and peer support – including higher visibility of diverse role models and more networking opportunities for women with similar backgrounds
  4. Broader cultural norms and legislation – including better support in the community for carers and stronger online privacy laws and government regulation of social media to improve the safety of diverse candidates

Research findings & panel discussion

Launching the research findings, Dr Gosia Mikolajczak presents key findings and recommendations from the report, considering the progress that has been made so far and what still needs to change to advance equality.

The presentation is followed by a panel discussion with candidates and councillors, who reflect on their own personal journeys to politics and share advice to anyone looking to embark on a political career themselves but are unsure where to begin.

  • Cr Georgie Carey, Deputy Mayor of the Town of Mosman Park
  • Cr Farhat Firdous, Baw Bar Shire Councillor and Pathways to Politics for Women alum
  • Dominique Passmore, who ran in the 2021 Sydney council elections
  • Mallika Raj, Labor candidate in upcoming ACT elections
  • Cr Jade Darko, Clarence City Councillor

Read the report

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