Women's Leadership Institute Australia

Carol Schwartz AO founded the not-for-profit Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA) in 2011. It is a research and advocacy arm of the Trawalla Foundation, focused on finding the best levers for change to achieve equal voice, representation and recognition for women in Australia. 

For further information please contact:
Sarah Buckley
Chief Executive Officer

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (LinkedIn)


@WLIAus (Twitter)



WLIA values

• Independent and apolitical.
• Agile and entrepreneurial.
• Bold and courageous.
• Pragmatic and collaborative.

WLIA initiatives include:

The Pathways to Politics Program for Women
In Australia, women are under-represented across all levels of government, business, civil society and positions of influence. The Pathways to Politics Program for Women is changing the face of politics. It seeks to increase female participation in politics, equipping women with the skills and knowledge to succeed in running for elected office and thrive as political leaders.

The University of Melbourne founded the non-partisan programme model in 2015 in partnership with the WLIA and Trawalla Foundation. This involved consultation with the Women and Public Policy programme at the Harvard Kennedy School in reference to its long-running “From Harvard Square to the Oval Office” practicum. 

Pathways to Politics Program for Women is a growing national network of independent state-based programmes run by Australian universities.

Women for Media
Lack of media coverage perpetuates inequality. Through research, working in partnership with media organisations, facilitating media training and maintaining its database of Australian women leaders, WLIA is committed to elevating women to gain equal impact on the public conversation across print, online, radio and TV.  

Over the past decade, WLIA has partnered with university academics to produce reports looking at gender equality in Australian media reporting. In late 2021, WLIA’s fifth Women in Media report will be released.

WLIA’s Women for Media is a database of more than 200 female leaders in business, finance, government, academia and the not-for-profit sector. It provides journalists with the direct contacts of senior female leaders for interview or comment.

WLIA’s aim is to increase the visibility of female leaders in the media speaking about their professional areas of expertise in order to ensure diversity of thought, challenge stereotypes and provide role models for aspiring executives and leaders. Women for Media is an invite-only initiative – however, expressions of interest are always welcome.

WLIA fellowships
Through advocacy, policy and research fellowships, WLIA is building a community of leaders focused on achieving equal numbers of women and men sharing power and influence in Australia. It is committed to supporting a cohort of exceptional women to accelerate work, especially in the politics, business and media areas, to elevate their voice and demonstrate what is possible.

WLIA’s fellowships support women who are leaders in their respective fields, women who have innovative approaches and the courage, conviction and capacity to create real change.

WLIA regularly shares news and updates on social-media channels. Please visit Twitter and LinkedIn for news and event information.

The Panel Pledge

Launched with the Champions of Change Coalition and Chief Executive Women in support of gender diversity at every public forum.

This is the WLIA pledge:
As business and community leaders, Chief Executive Women, Women’s Leadership Institute Australia and Male Champions of Change have united to achieve radical improvements in women’s representation in public and professional forums.

This includes being prepared to call out imbalances when they see them. The panel pledge is a simple, practical example of actions CEOs can take to influence system-wide change on gender equality and advancing women in leadership.

We will honour the panel pledge when invited to speak. We pledge to increase the visibility and contribution of women leaders in public and professional forums. Please join us!