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Canberra’s women in politics raise their voices at UC webinar

Elly Mackay

7 December 2020: Some of Canberra’s most influential female political voices will come together on Tuesday to host How Women Won Canberra: The Extraordinary ACT Election Result and Its Lessons for Other States and Territories.

The interactive webinar, which is being hosted by the University of Canberra’s 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, is set to explore the 2020 ACT Election – where a majority of Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) elected were women.

The inspiration for the webinar comes from University of Canberra Associate Professor Chris Wallace, who penned a book titled How to Win an Election, which was released around the time the 2020 ACT election was held.

The book discusses how Parliament continues to face diversity challenges and a lack of female-held seats.

Co-director of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation Professor Kim Rubenstein said it made sense to link Dr Wallace’s book with the outcomes of the election.

“The aim of the session is to ask the panelists why they think Canberra has such a high representation of women in politics and what lessons we can glean,” Professor Rubenstein said.

“We think that bringing these women together gives us the opportunity to think both from specific party experiences, but also to see what might be relevant to each of them.”

In a unique demographic makeup, a majority of MLAs in the ACT are women, and at least half of every party’s MLAs are female.

Five out of eight of Australia’s Attorneys General are now also women.

How Women Won Canberra will explore the correlation between female politicians and progress, what motivates women to enter politics, and how they can act as role models.

Panel members include ACT Health Minister and Labor MLA Rachel Stephen-Smith, Opposition leader of the ACT Liberals MLA Elizabeth Lee, newly-elected Greens MLA and Environment Minister Rebecca Vassarotti, and Dr Wallace.

The webinar will be chaired by Professor Rubenstein, who is also a Professor in Law.

“This webinar is really targeted to a broad audience, as well as those who work, study, or have an interest in the political sphere,” Professor Rubenstein said.

The University’s 50/50 by 2030 Foundation is a bold gender equality initiative launched in 2017. It aims to activate research to drive cultural and structural change to deliver enduring gender equity in public leadership in Australia.

Registrations for the webinar are available here.