Coming from a small regional Queensland town, Sara Diana Faraj was gobsmacked when she was accepted into the QUT Pathways to Politics for Women program in 2022. In a room full of powerful women from all walks of life and all different political spheres, the importance of being able to connect with like-minded women from all over Queensland is unmatched.
Who or what influenced you to apply for this program?
My passion for women in politics and serving my community influenced me to apply for this program. When I applied, I was a little hesitant, as I was only 20 at the time and the perception of being ‘too young’ is something I had already faced despite my already-lived experience in the professional and political arena. I acknowledge my family, my partner, my friends, and my colleagues that pushed me to apply and believed in me so much, that they weren’t surprised when I got in meanwhile I was gobsmacked.
How did the Pathways to Politics Program transform you or help you the most?
The Pathways to Politics Program changed my life. Being able to live my truth and express myself with like-minded women only furthered my passion and aspirations to run for public office.
The intricate discussions and well-thought-out sessions were incredible. The way the facilitators modelled the dynamics of the room was extremely important and appreciated. As the youngest woman in the program, I was made to feel no different from others with twice my life experience and this really furthered my self-belief and confidence that I could begin my political career as a young woman.
What was the highlight of your experience?
In a room full of powerful women from all walks of life, and all different political spheres, we bared our truths, our passions, and our vulnerability to one another. We became a family, and that was so important to me. We examined the intricacies of running for public office thoroughly and compared them to modern society’s expectations and where the perception of women in politics is headed. The real highlight was speaking and connecting to like-minded women and being able to bounce off ideas from one another.
In this program, vulnerability was our superpower.
We were able to grow as individuals and as a group, and completing this journey together was incredibly empowering.
What advice would you give to someone looking at applying to this program?
APPLY! Be your most authentic self, and be prepared to bare your truths and be challenged in every way possible. Accept feedback in all forms, and be true to yourself, your beliefs, and your intentions It’s okay to be apprehensive! Find a way to connect with as many women as possible throughout the program! Believe in your abilities, and you are already halfway to being elected.
What message would you give to those who donated to the cost of this program?
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Everything I thought I needed to know, questions I wanted to ask, and the family I thought I’d never have, all became possible through this course. It truly changed my life and instilled a greater self-belief than I thought possible. The importance of being able to connect with like-minded women from all over Queensland is unmatched, and I truly thank you for making such an intensive, and worthwhile course so accessible to women from a range of backgrounds.