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Vote for women: panel discussion

Vote for women panelists seated against black backdrop: Rosalind Dixon, Mehreen Faruqi, Georgia Steele, Julia Banks
April 2022

Hear from Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi, author and former Liberal turned Independent MP Julia Banks, and 2022 Independent candidate and Pathways to Politics alum Georgia Steele in a vibrant discussion about the future of equal representation in Australian politics, chaired by Rosalind Dixon, Director of UNSW Sydney’s Pathways to Politics program.

120 years ago, Australian women were amongst the first in the world to gain both the right to vote and the right to be elected to parliament – with Indigenous women being made to wait another long 60 years. But it took roughly 40 years before a woman was actually elected to Federal parliament and in 2022, even though there are more women in parliament than ever before, women only make up a third of our elected representatives. 

Independent candidate and Pathways to Politics alum Georgia Steele

The steady march towards equality has gained increasing momentum in recent years. Although each passing decade has seen women take huge strides in politics, toxic workplace culture, sexual assault, and scandals continue to cast a shadow over Canberra – rendering public life an unattractive pursuit for younger women.  

“Until we get 50/50 women and men in our Federal parliament, we’re not going to make the progress that we need to make,”

– Julia Banks

As back-to-back budgets continue to overlook women’s issues – childcare, reproductive health, equitable pay, safe and secure housing – it’s imperative our front bench starts looking more like modern Australia.

With just a few weeks until Australians take to the polling booths, how can we ensure more women get a seat at the table? 

Listen to the full recording:

Related media release:

Female politicians face ‘visceral sexism’ and feel unsafe

Stefanie Menezes, UNSW Sydney Newsroom, 11 May 2022

The fight for equal gender representation in Australian politics requires systemic change, the UNSW Sydney Centre for Ideas ‘Vote for Women’ event has heard.

Chaired by Professor Rosalind Dixon at UNSW Law & Justice, the panel discussion included Greens Senator for NSW and UNSW alumna Dr Mehreen Faruqi, author and former Liberal-turned-Independent MP Julia Banks, and 2022 Independent candidate Georgia Steele.

As Australians head to the polls in less than two weeks, Prof Dixon said it was important to “reflect on the role of women in our politics, the challenges and opportunities, and the role of voters”.

Find out more about the event
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