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Media Release: Women for Election wins $5m grant to equip women to run for public office

MEDIA RELEASE 23 March 2023

Women for Election wins $5m grant to equip women to run for public office

Licia Heath, CEO of Women for Election (WFE), said she was overjoyed at the news that the Australian Government had awarded WFE, leading a consortium of heavy-hitting gender-specialist organisations, a grant of $5 million over 5 years, to increase the representation and diversity of women in public office.

This program will build on the non-partisan organisation’s pedigree of equipping women to run for election, with over 2500 women across the political spectrum registering for its events since 2019.

“More and more of our alumni are running in each council, state and federal election — 18 are running in the current NSW election and 43 ran in last year’s federal election. And while we aim to train women to win elections, we know that win or lose, in every contest a woman stands they help shape the agenda and influence the outcome,” said Ms Heath.

The consortium brings together WFE with ANU’s Global Institute of Women’s Leadership, Quantum Impact Group, Australian Local Government Women’s Association, experienced trainer Ruth McGowan OAM and Politics in Colour – experts in engaging and training women of colour.

“It’s a formidable partnership that will draw upon a wealth of experience, expertise and talent to ensure the program delivers bang for the taxpayer buck, reaching and training thousands of women across Australia,” said Ms Heath.

The consortium, empowered by the Women in Public Office grant, will help expand WFE’s current reach and will leverage in-place training programs, an online virtual program and an innovative “campaign in your pocket’ technology resource.

The program will have a significant focus on finding and supporting women and diverse candidates from politically under-represented communities. To ensure WFE and the consortium delivers on this aim they have established a Design Council to provide guidance on the program’s design, ensuring individual, social & cultural barriers affecting women entering public office are addressed.

“The evidence demonstrates that the more women and the more diverse representation you have in office, the better the public policy outcomes – because when women take part in politics, the whole of society benefits.

“This program is an investment in strengthening our democracy. It’s vital that people from diverse communities can see themselves in their political representatives, that they feel they have a voice in the halls of power and decision-making and can readily maintain their faith in political institutions.

“Women for Election is elated that women’s political representation is a priority for the Australian Government. We’re committed to working constructively across the political spectrum, including with major and minor parties, independents and our Parliamentary Friendship Group, to ensure women have access to information and resources that supports them to run for election,” said Ms Heath.

“Gender equality and providing opportunities for more women to run is not just good public policy, it’s a crucial pathway to electoral success at the polls,” said Ms Heath.

This funding is provided through the Women’s Leadership and Development Program ‘Women in Public Office’ grant opportunity, administered by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Office for Women.

Please direct media enquiries to WFE’s Communications and Relationship Manager, Katrina Van De Ven: katrina@wfe.org.au.