Celebrating women in leadership: panel discussion

Four female panelists holding microphones, seated on stage.
23 February 2023, University of Canberra Pathways to Politics Program for Women

Hosted by award-winning journalist Ginger Gorman, the Celebrating women in leadership panel discussion featured national founder of Pathways to Politics Carol Schwartz AO, a philanthropist, business leader and Chair of the Trawalla Foundation, MLA and ACT Liberal Leader Elizabeth Lee and former ALP Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann.

The panel explored why increasing women’s representation in politics across Australia matters, and how Pathways to Politics is part of accelerating this shift. It was hosted as part of the launch celebrations for the inaugural Pathways to Politics Program for Women at the University of Canberra.

  • Cultural diversity
  • How women do politics differently
  • Parenting and public life
  • What you need to think about if you’re considering entering politics

Watch the recording

About the panellists

Carol Schwartz AO

Carol is highly regarded as a public commentator and agitator on issues of gender equality, women’s leadership, governance and business.

Throughout her career Carol has been a passionate advocate for women in leadership, particularly in business, politics and the media. As Chair of the Trawalla Foundation and the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, she has catalysed a range of practical solutions, including the Pathways to Politics Program for Women, the Panel Pledge, and the Women for Media database. Carol is also the Founding Chair of Our Community, a member of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Women’s Leadership Board, and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership Advisory Board, Kings College.

Elizabeth Lee MLA

Elizabeth Lee is Member for Kurrajong, Leader of the Canberra Liberals, Shadow Treasurer, Shadow Minister for Climate Action and Shadow Minister for Economic Development, Tourism and Major Projects. Prior to her election to the ACT Legislative Assembly in 2016, Elizabeth was a lawyer in government and private practice and a law lecturer at The Australian National University and the University of Canberra.

Whilst practising as a lawyer, Elizabeth served as Chair of the ACT and Australian Young Lawyers Committees and Vice President of the ACT Law Society. Elizabeth is the first Australian of Korean descent to be elected into an Australian Parliament and the first Asian-Australian leader of a major political party in Australia having been elected leader of the Canberra Liberals in 2020. Elizabeth lives in South Canberra with her partner, Nathan, and 3-year-old daughter, Mia and is expecting her second daughter in April 2023.

Gai Brodtmann

Gai Brodtmann is a former parliamentarian and businesswoman with deep experience in national security, and a lifelong advocate for women. She is currently a non executive director on the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Defence Housing Australia, Old Parliament House and Endometriosis Australia boards and a regular presenter and panellist on national security, public policy and women’s empowerment.

Gai is a champion of women in national security, and a former co-host of the Women In National Security podcast and a driver of change in women’s health and resilience. Gai is also co-founder and chair of Fearless Women, a not for profit that builds self-esteem and confidence in girls and young women.

Gai was elected as the Member for Canberra from 2010-2019. She served as Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security and Defence from 2016-2019 and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence from 2013-206.

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