Vote for Women
What keeps me going and what gives me hope is so many young people, and especially young women of colour, who tell me that when they see me in parliament they know that they can be there as well.
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.
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.
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?
Hear from Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi, author and former Liberal turned Independent MP Julia Banks, and 2022 Independent candidate Georgia Steele in a vibrant discussion about the future of equal representation in Australian politics, chaired by UNSW Sydney’s Rosalind Dixon.
Mehreen Faruqi speaking at Vote for Women
Georgia Steele speaking at Vote for Women
Julia Banks speaking at Vote for Women
Julia Banks is an author, businesswoman, lawyer and keynote speaker who runs her own consultancy business, and holds several non executive advisory positions. She has extensive experience in the corporate and legal sector and served as a Federal Member of the Parliament of Australia.
Julia's bestselling book Power Play: Breaking through bias, barriers and boys clubs contains practical advice and anecdotes revealing the unvarnished realities of any workplace across all sectors where power disparities and gender politics collide; from the unequal opportunities, casual sexism and systemic misogyny, to pressures around looks, age and family responsibilities and the consequences of speaking out.
Julia's extensive experience is across the private and public sectors, having worked as senior corporate counsel and executive director roles for global companies for over 20 years prior to being elected as a Federal Member of Parliament in 2016. Julia's key areas of expertise and leadership experience are in the areas of governance, workplace culture risk, issues and crisis management.
Julia Banks appears by arrangement with Saxton Speakers Bureau.
Dr Mehreen Faruqi is the Greens Senator for NSW and Spokesperson for Anti-racism, Education, Housing, Industry, International Aid, and Animal Welfare. She is a civil and environmental engineer and a life-long activist for social and environmental justice. She became the first Muslim woman to sit in any Australian parliament when she joined the NSW Parliament in 2013. In 2018, she took her proudly feminist and anti-racist approach to challenging the status quo to federal parliament when she joined the Senate.
Mehreen has been an unflinching voice on social, environmental and racial justice, pushing to dismantle the systems of power, privilege and patriarchy that allow these injustices to continue. Mehreen’s recently published memoir and manifesto Too Migrant, Too Muslim, Too Loud is a no-holds-barred account by a political outsider about what happens when you confront a system steeped in power and patriarchy.
Georgia Steele is a politics junkie, a cricket tragic, an optimist and a Japanophile. She's lived, worked and studied in Japan, speaks the language and now lives to please a Japanese mother-in-law. Georgia is a lawyer, and now independent candidate running for the House of Representatives in the Federal seat of Hughes. She has worked in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Tokyo, Sapporo, London and always, professionally, in a man's world. In that former professional life, Georgia practised as a corporate and commercial litigator at Allens and Freshfields, for 15 years, across four continents, and then for a major Australian retail bank. She hates conflict; so choosing litigation and politics makes no sense at all, but she couldn't sit by any longer while the current government hijacked her children's future. She is taking on the incumbent and leader of the United Australia Party, Craig Kelly MP, is endorsed by Climate 200 and is running on platforms of climate action, enhanced Federal integrity measures, and equality. It was UNSW's inaugural Pathways to Politics for Women Program that filled Georgia with the confidence (or is it hubris?) to take on Mr Kelly, a decision she's sure she'll understand making, one day. Georgia lives in sleepy Como with her husband, two kids, and her dog Scout (who is now employed full-time as the Steele Campaign mascot).
Rosalind Dixon is a Professor of Law and Director of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at UNSW Sydney. She is a graduate of UNSW and Harvard, and has taught at law schools around the world – including Harvard, Columbia, University of Chicago and National University Singapore, and is the author of a new book, with Richard Holden, From Free to Fair Markets: Liberalism after COVID out later this year. She is passionate about law and politics, and currently Director of the Pathways to Politics for Women Program at NSW.