OurSay worked with a Commonwealth initiative called W.Comm- a new forum promoting the role of women in our political system. Three leading federal politicians Kelly O'Dwyer (Liberal), Deb O'Neill (Labor) and Larissa Waters (The Greens) responded to the three most popular questions on Women in Politics in August 2011 at the inaugural W.comm conference.
“Women dominate the make up of and the engagement with local campaigns. For example women account for 70% of the High School for Coburg (Melbourne)campaign’s 455 facebook likers and nearly all the online engagement. Unfortunately these generous proportions are not reflected in the formal political realm. How do we enable this demonstrably very high level of local political engagement to extend further into and up the formal political structures? Is social media an important enabler? ”
“Is it right for the current system of increasing participation for women in politics to focus on prioritising female candidates, instead of identifying and eliminating systemic barriers to their election? Are there ways other than quotas to ensure that women are more often heard? What else can we do to encourage more women to see politics as a viable career choice?”
“Why is gender important? What do women political representatives offer that is different from male politicians? Do they offer alternative views or perspectives; bring to the table an entirely different set of issues; encourage a new style of political engagement; or is equal representation what's most important?”