We still have "a long way to go", Dr Katrine Beauregard, a lecturer at ANU's School of Politics and International Relations, said following news Australia's next federal parliament was set to reach a record number of women, per SBS.
Following the May 18 election, female candidates are on track to win at least 81 of the 227 seats across both houses, meaning women will make up 35 per cent of the parliament, according to SBS News. This compares to the last election that saw women make up roughly 31 per cent of MPs.
Australia's milestone for women in politics comes amid a surge of women in power across the world. In the 2018 US midterm elections, an unprecedented number of women gained seats in Congress, with more than 100 being elected. marie claire US reported at the time that this number broke the previous record of 85. In the same election, a Muslim woman and a Native American woman won seats in Congress for the first time. Earlier in the year, the US state of Chicago made history after it elected the first black woman and openly gay candidate for Mayor.
The analysis by SBS News indicates that at least 45 women will sit in the House of Representatives, five more than the last election. 27 for Labor, 13 for the Coalition and three from minor parties or Independents. The results in the Senate are marginally better with the number of women growing from 30 to 36, with 15 for Labor, 13 for the Coalition and the rest for minor parties and Independents. The government is now set to have at least 26 total women in parliament, up from 21.
Fiona Martin, Melissa McIntosh and Lindsay and Hollie Hughes were the newly appointed female representatives in the Senate.
"It's obviously an improvement, it's a small increase, on the one hand, it's good, but on the other hand it's very slow progress," Dr Beauregard said, adding at this rate, Australia may "have to wait another 20 or 30 years before we get full parity".
"If we look at the trends over the last 20 or 30 years, the progress has been very incremental and that is basically what this election is showing."