By Kali Goldstone, Consultant at WOMEN FOR ELECTION
On Tuesday November 30th, Women for Election launched our Parliamentary Friends of Women for Election online at Parliament House. It was an auspicious event considering that the report, Set the Standard, authored by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, a culmination of a seven-month review of the workplace culture in federal parliament, was released on the same day.
This report serves to reinforce and emphasise the importance of Women for Elections’ mission to INSPIRE women to consider a career in Australian politics, to EQUIP women with the tools and techniques to successfully get elected and SUSTAIN women to achieve their highest potential in elective office, in order to change the culture at all levels of our legislative chambers.
At Women for Election, we strongly believe that political education and participation are key aspects of achieving gender equality in our legislative chambers. We must have more lived, diverse experience in our Parliament’s to enable the creation and implementation of policy that better supports and reflects the needs of all Australians. The full and active participation of women in our legislative chambers, equal to men, is not just a goal in itself, but central to building and sustaining our democracy.
One of the main goals of Women for Election is to continue to support women once they enter political life. One of the ways we hope to do this is through this Parliamentary Friends Group.
It is the first time that female and male champions from across party lines and states are coming together to strengthen trust and build solidarity among female parliamentarians.
This group’s ultimate goal is to empower and provide capacity building for women in federal politics and to promote female representation in politics across all our legislative chambers.
We envisage that this group will help raise awareness on gender issues in political life, here at home and globally, and within the broader Australian public. We would also like to establish a mentoring program for women who are interested in entering the political arena.
Most importantly, this group will provide non-partisan forums and events for MPs, Senators and their staff, to meet and interact with Women for Election on matters relating to gender parity in political representation across all three tiers of government.
We would particularly like to recognise and thank the three co-chairs, Senator Claire Chandler, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Dr Anne Aly, and their wonderful staff, for their unwavering support and help in setting up this trailblazing Parliamentary Friends of Women for Election. All three co-chairs spoke passionately last night about the importance of getting more women into Parliament to help shift the culture and effect real, sustainable change.
We would also like to acknowledge and thank the other founding members of the group, and their staff, for their encouragement and support:
These women generously shared with us their motivation for being founding members of the Parliamentary Friends of Women for Election and we have highlighted their thoughts and beliefs in this video and interview below: