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Podcast: Women in leadership with Natasha Stott Despoja

16 July 2021

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Professor Sharon Bessell is Director of Gender Equity and Diversity and heads the Children’s Policy Centre and the Poverty and Inequality Research Centre at the Crawford School of Public Policy. Her research focuses on social policy for children and she currently teaches Global Social Policy (POGO8044) and Development Theories and Themes (POGO8072).

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In the penultimate episode of our Policy Forum Pod mini-series on leadership and democracy, Natasha Stott Despoja – former Senator for South Australia and member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women – joins us to discuss women in leadership in Australia.

Australia is still a long way from reaching gender parity in politics, with the country ranking 51st in terms of the percentage of parliamentarians who are women. Revelations throughout 2021 have also shone a light on the serious, disturbing challenges facing women in parliament, and the toxic culture that’s been allowed to flourish. With research showing few are interested in a career in politics, how can policymakers ensure that there are pathways into politics for young women? What needs to change to ensure women in parliament are safe and respected? And how can greater diversity in parliament drive both policy and cultural change across the country? On this episode of Policy Forum Pod, Natasha Stott Despoja AO joins Professor Sharon Bessell and Dr Arnagretta Hunter to discuss women’s political leadership in Australia, talk through some of the challenges, and chart ways forward. Listen here

Natasha Stott Despoja AO is the founding Chair of the Board of Our Watch, a foundation to prevent violence against women and their children, and was previously the Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls. She was Senator for South Australia representing the Australian Democrats from 1995 to 2008.

Sharon Bessell is Professor of Public Policy and Director of Gender Equity and Diversity at Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU.

Arnagretta Hunter is a cardiologist, physician, and a Senior Clinical Lecturer for ANU Medical School.

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