Written by Kali Goldstone, Senior Advisor, WFEA

Women for Election Australia is thrilled to announce that Sharman Stone has become a WFEA Ambassador.

Sharman is well known for her strong win in the 1996 Federal election, having won the seat of Murray for the Liberal party after it had only ever resided in the hands of the Nationals party. Sharman widened her margin in the time she held the seat until she retired from politics at the 2016 election. Sharman looks back on her time in politics fondly but notes that she experienced the challenges and consequences of a less than inclusive parliament. Women are not only underrepresented numerically, we fail to be found in equal numbers in the most powerful positions, shaping policy and allocating resources.”

Achieving greater gender equality and empowerment in the workplace and society has always been one of Sharman’s strongest commitments.

CEO of Women for Election Australia, Licia Heath, says the addition of Stone to WFEAs strong line-up of Ambassadors is reflective of the cross-party support for their work.

Sharman’s political career in Canberra, in her electorate and within the Liberal party are held in high esteem. Her willingness to support our non-partisan work inspiring and equipping more women to get elected, comes at a time when there’s intense focus on the need to see more women and diverse voices in our Parliamentary chambers.
Sharman believes that there needs to be more women in our Federal, State and local Parliaments:

“That is why I see WFEA’s mission as significant. For the good of our country, this must improve, with great women candidates contesting winnable seats. Achieving parity will require temporary special measures to be adopted by all parties and by parliaments.

The standing orders and structures of parliament must also be put under a gender lens to ensure they are not creating a work environment that puts barriers before parents with caring responsibilities.”

As a long serving member and Chair of the Australian Parliamentarians for Population Development Group (APPDG), Sharman was elected the Vice Chair of the Asia-Pacific Population Development Group with special responsibilities for promoting the rights of women and girls in the region. In this role and as the Chair of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade, Aid Sub Committee, Sharman championed the cause of eliminating child marriages, FGM, human trafficking, poverty and disease in our region.

She has smashed several gender barriers being one of the first woman superintendents in the Office of Corrections; the first woman manager in the Victorian Rural Water Corporation; one of the first two women Directors in the Department of Agriculture and the first woman director in the Victorian Farmer’s Federation. She was the only woman Director of Murray Irrigation Ltd while serving.

Sharman joins an impressive list of Ambassadors supporting WFEAs work, including Ann Sherry, AO, Anna Bligh, AC, Dr John Hewson, Emelda Davis , The Hon. Nick Greiner, Sue Cato, Narelle Hooper and Wendy McCarthy AO.