The first of its kind in Australia, this award-winning collaboration is an initiative of the Trawalla Foundation, WLIA and University of Melbourne, in partnership with eight of Australia’s leading universities.

Pathways is increasing the number of women in Australian politics by equipping diverse women to boldly embrace their political ambitions, thrive as leaders and make a profound contribution to society.

Through comprehensive practical training, workshops, mentoring and career-long support, we provide unparalleled expertise for women who are serious about driving change through political leadership.  

Under the dedicated leadership of National Co-Convenors Sarah Buckley and Dr Meredith Martin (University of Melbourne), Pathways to Politics is changing the face of politics.


electoral successes


Pathways alums nationally


By 2026, an estimated 1,000+ women will have participated in Pathways to Politics


“Our democratic institutions should reflect our community to ensure we all have a voice within the decision-making arms of our society. Yet it can seem impossible for some people who have not grown up in political families, parties or activist groups to see themselves within the hallowed halls of power. It can be a long and lonely road that’s difficult to navigate without networks, mentors and the tools to help realise your ambition. It can even be harder for women who have traditionally not had access to the same wealth as men to fund campaigns. Pathways to Politics helps to break down those barriers and give you the knowledge and the confidence to put yourself forward for leadership positions.”

The Hon Lara Giddings AO
Former Labor Premier of Tasmania

“Participants leave the program with increased motivation and confidence. It provides them with greater skills and heightened aspirations to run for higher office. Much more importantly is the strong friendships and congeniality formed across the political divide of those who complete the program. This can only contribute to deliver a better democracy for our future.”

Ufficiale Hon Teresa Gambaro
Former Liberal Member for Brisbane

“As a participant in the first year of Pathways to Politics in 2016, I look back on the experience as being pivotal in shaping my political journey. One of the incredible ongoing benefits has been the network of extraordinary women it has created, many of whom I now work alongside in state parliament. It has opened connections between us across party lines, opening the door for greater collaboration – which can ultimately drive better outcomes for our community.”  

Dr Sarah Mansfield MP
Greens Member of the Legislative Council for Western Victoria and University of Melbourne Pathways to Politics alum

“I am genuinely impressed by the positive impact of the Pathway to Politics program in empowering women with the skills, tools, and confidence needed to step into the realm of politics across all government levels. This well-thought-out program is pivotal in driving change and elevating the presence of women in Australian politics. As a migrant woman actively engaged in politics, I am particularly delighted to witness the program’s accessibility and affordability to women from diverse backgrounds, including those with culturally diverse and migrant experiences.”

Cr Seema Abdullah
Greater Shepparton City Council

“We will never be a truly representative democracy until the broadest possible experiences are included at the decision-making table. Pathways to Politics is helping diverse women to develop their skills and find a seat at that table – I can’t wait to see the participants claim their places.”

The Hon Susan Close MP
Labor Deputy Premier of South Australia

“Pathways to Politics doesn’t just bewail the undersupply of women in public office: it takes practical steps to address the problem, equipping women with the skills and confidence to get involved… It’s an invaluable down-payment on a better kind of politics.”

Annabel Crabb
Journalist and television presenter