Pathways to Politics Program for Women


Pathways to Politics Northern Institute CDU

Applications for our 2022 program are open now!

Charles Darwin University through the Northern Institute (NI) is proud to launch the inaugural Northern Territory Pathways to Politics Program for Women for 2022. The Pathways to Politics Program is a national, proudly non-partisan initiative that aims to change the face of politics by equipping women with the skills, knowledge, confidence and networks they need to run for elected office and thrive as political leaders. We are proud to be working with a national network of universities who share our mission to change the face of politics in Australia. You can find out more about the Pathways to Politics national network at

This initiative of the Trawalla Foundation, Women’s Leadership Institute  Australia  and  the  University  of  Melbourne  seeks  to address the underrepresentation of women in Australian politics, and is delivered in partnership with state and territory- based university partners the University of Melbourne, QUT, UNSW and Charles Darwin University.

As the only program of its kind in the Northern Territory, NI’s Pathways to Politics is a non-partisan initiative that is designed to increase female participation in all levels of government. The program brings together significant expertise and experience from across Australia’s political spectrum. Through an intensive series of workshops, the program provides participants with practical knowledge, skills and networking opportunities to become the political leaders of tomorrow.

NI’s program is open to female-identifying and non-binary residents of the NT. You will become part of a large, supportive national network of diverse and highly motivated women from a range of political,  professional,  and  cultural  backgrounds, all dedicated to making a tangible difference to the political landscape. There are no costs to participate in this program.

Guest presenters from across the political spectrum feature throughout the program, including politicians (both sitting and retired), pollsters, public speaking professionals, campaign strategists, advisors, public policy experts, and leading figures in Australian political and public life.

Pathways to Politics was initiated through the vision of Carol Schwartz AO, Chair of the Trawalla Foundation, who fundamentally believes in the value of more female leaders. For Carol this is about optimising outcomes for our country by ensuring that men and women together share power, leadership and decision making.

"For more than 20 years I've been passionate about improving the quality of leadership and decision making in Australia. Sadly, Australia continues to suffer from a chronic underrepresentation of women in leadership positions and currently ranks as 51st in the world when it comes to the representation of women in government."

- Carol Schwartz AO, Chair, Trawalla Foundation

The 2022 program comprises of a mixutre of seven face-to-face (CDU Casuarina campus, Darwin NT) or online workshops*. 

Key dates (2022)

Applications open: NOW

Applications close: Friday 9 September

Workshop 1: Thursday 13 October (in person)

Workshop 2: Friday 14 October (in person)

Workshop 3: Thursday 20 October 4:30 - 8:00pm (online)

Workshop 4: Saturday 29 October (online)

Workshop 5: Thursday 10 November 4:30 - 8:00pm (online)

Workshop 6: Thursday 17 November (in person)

Workshop 7: Friday 18 November (in person)

Travel & accommodation funding is available to remote & regional residents (not based in Darwin) to attend the in-person workshops on CDU campus.


Eligibility guidelines

To be eligible for the program you must be an Australian citizen/Australian permanent resident/holder of a permanent Humanitarian Visa, female-identifying or non-binary in gender identification, and a Northern Territory resident.

Participants will be selected on a competitive basis against the following criteria:

>          Commitment to seeking elected office.

>          Leadership experience.

>          Professional and life experience.

>          Political engagement.

>          Ability to tell your story in a compelling way.

Equity Criteria

Pathways to Politics for Women is committed to minimising barriers to enter politics. As such, applicants identified by the selection committee as coming from an equity cohort will be prioritised. To be eligible to apply for a position in this equity category applicants must satisfy the application selection criteria, and also meet one or more of the following criteria:

>          Identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

>          Identify as LGBTQIA+

>          Previous status as a refugee or current holder of a humanitarian visa

>          Culturally and linguistically diverse background

>          Disadvantaged socio-economic circumstances

>          Disability or chronic medical condition

>          Difficult personal circumstances

>          Coming from a rural or isolated area.


Pathways to Politics Northern Institute CDU



Pathways to Politics for Women was featured in these articles in The Age and The Guardian.

Trawalla Foundation 

Women's Leadership Institute Australia