In this blog series, we ask our alums to tell us about their personal ‘pathway to politics’ and provide their recommendations for content that will help support, guide, inspire and engage other women on their political journey.
In October 2022, we spotlight alums running in the Victorian State election.
Emily Bieber, Greens Candidate for Ivanhoe
Hi everyone, I’m a 2020 Pathways to Politics alum from the University of Melbourne and 2022 State candidate. Having run for local council in 2020 in a lockdown, I am relishing the buzz of running in 2022. I have a devoted campaign team and support with messaging and materials from my party. It’s not as scary as you’d think! You need to work out who: brings you up, inspires you, brings you down, wastes your time, challenges you….
I joined the Greens after watching the treatment of refugees in the Howard years and now I stay with them for their strong climate policy. My party’s values align with my personal and professional (social worker/family violence practitioner) outlook.
It was other women that encouraged me to apply for the program. I agreed to enrol because I’d met a very average male politician and I thought, wow, is that all it takes? I can do better than that. I’m still friends with the politician.
I was blown away by the calibre of my Pathways classmates; I was surrounded by giants. I now run my own business, I lead committees in my party and I’m more in touch with my feminist power than ever before. I think I’m catching up with those giants.
It’s hard losing a local election to an anti-vax, climate denier. But you can’t lie down forever. I need to show my kids that if you’re angry about something, then do something about it. Make friends with other women in leadership, including local Councillors and activists. Brainstorm the microskills you want and build them up over time. If you can’t chair a meeting, get out of your comfort zone and arrange to chair half a meeting; you’ll probably smash it out of the park. If you’re scared of social media, share a post to begin with. Eventually saying “vote  Emily Bieber” starts to feel like a bloody good idea.
I’ll never forget the moment I confided in a colleague about five years ago in a tiny voice “I’m thinking about running for local council” and she said all the right things. It was the first time I’d said this. It was the beginning.
My recommendations! What inspires me?
Anything by Clementine Ford. Clem’s advocacy style of direct action (specifically naming perpetrators for who they are) is the bit that’s inspiring/eye opening.
Alexandra Ocasio Cortez
AOC in Knock Down the House was when I really fell in love.
It’s Rosie Batty’s advocacy that created actual industry reform in the family violence field that was game changing.
My mum: she never launched a podcast but she fought hard for the disenfranchised.
My year 11 essay on Salvador Allende. Abuelita was a Pinochet supporter, so how I ended up a socialist is deep rebellion, right?
My 12 year old daughter, who has complex health issues, and just keeps on trying every day to navigate this strange planet, with a smile and a wicked sense of humour.