Women in National Security: diversity in the national interest

National Security College | Professional course


This program is fully subscribed. Please contact us to register your interest for the next available program.

This dynamic two-day program examines challenges and opportunities for women leading, or seeking to lead, in defence, cyber, law enforcement, intelligence, border control and/or foreign affairs. Women in national security are having an increasing positive impact across these areas, adding depth and diversity to counter the current threats to security in Australia and globally.

Join us to consider the impact and value of gender and diversity on national security thinking, policy, decision-making, implementation and practice. Explore the value of women’s participation and leadership, and the risks associated with their exclusion or absence. Link theory and concepts, with experience and contemporary practice, drawing on frank insights from senior leaders and experts. Benefit from the insights of key speakers with experience and high-level involvement in Australia’s agenda on women and national security.

The program is designed for participants across government and industry, inclusive of all genders, and there is no minimum security clearance requirement.


Please click here to register or contact us at epd.nsc@anu.edu.au or on (02) 6125 2233 for further information.

Course date: 
9am 1 March – 5pm 2 March 2021
National Security College, Level 3, Crawford Building #132 , 1 Lennox Crossing, ANU

$2,250 (GST ex) for government, $2,700 (GST ex) open rate. Course is fully catered.

Course convenor

Ms Gai Brodtmann

Gai Brodtmann is a member of the National Security College Futures and Australian Strategic Policy Institute councils, Old Parliament House and Endometriosis Australia boards and Sapien Cyber advisory board.

She is also an occasional presenter and panellist at the National Security College, Australian Strategic Policy Institute and Australian Defence College and contributor to The Strategist.

Gai served as the Member for Canberra from 2010-2019. She was Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security and Defence from 2016-19 and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence from 2013-2016.

Gai is a former member and deputy chair of the joint committees on Public Accounts and Audit and National Capital and External Territories and a former member of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and the Defence sub-committee.

Prior to her political career, Gai ran her own small business for ten years. Before that, she was a federal public servant for a decade, primarily with Foreign Affairs and Trade and Attorney-General’s.

From 2000-2009, Gai consulted in Defence across a broad range of areas, including on capability acquisition and sustainment, financial and personnel management, youth development, science and technology, cultural change and diversity policy.

During her time in Foreign Affairs and Trade, Gai was posted to New Delhi and served on the Middle East desk, where she worked on the normalisation of the relationship with Iran and bilateral policy on Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Gai’s national security policy interests include cyber security – across a broad range of fields – the Women, Peace and Security agenda, critical infrastructure, capability sustainment, sovereign capacity and community education.

Gai is a strong advocate of women’s empowerment. She was convenor of the 2020 Women in National Security conference until it was unfortunately postponed due to the pandemic. She is currently establishing Fearless Women, a not for profit to encourage confidence and self esteem in girls and young women. She is also a mentor for Mentor Walks.

Gai is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia.

Course presenter(s)

Adjunct Professor Jane Halton

Jane Halton AO PSM FAICD FIPPA is a member of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission, the board of the ANZ, Clayton Utz, Crown Resorts, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and the US Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation. She is chairman of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, COTA, Crown Sydney and Vault Systems. Her 33 career within the Australian public service, included nearly 15 years as Secretary of the Departments of Finance and the Department of Health (and Ageing). Previously she was Executive Co-ordinator (Deputy Secretary) of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She has extensive experience in Health policy and delivery, the delivery of the Australian Government budget and the management and performance of Australian Government agencies. Jane has held a number of significant roles in Global Health Governance including as Chair of the board of the WHO, president of the World Health Assembly and as chair of the OECD health committee.

AMB Julie-Ann Guivarra

Ms Guivarra is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade where she served most recently as Australia’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain, Andorra and Equatorial Guinea. In this role Ms Guivarra became Australia’s first female indigenous Ambassador.

Prior to that appointment she served as Australia’s lead services negotiator for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) while she was Assistant Secretary of the South East Asia Investment & Services Branch. She has multilateral experience, serving as the Counsellor (Agriculture) in the World Trade Organisation.

She has published on trade issues: “WTO accession negotiations: trends and results in agriculture plurilaterals”, WTO Accessions and Trade Multilateralism: Case Studies and Lessons from the WTO at Twenty (2015). Her overseas postings include New Delhi, Geneva and Madrid and in Canberra she has also served as the Assistant Secretary of the South East Asia Analytical and Effectiveness Branch.

Ms Guivarra holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from James Cook University and Master of Arts (Foreign Affairs and Trade) from Monash University.

Dr Elise Stephenson

Elise Stephenson is a youth social entrepreneur from the School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University, Brisbane. Her PhD focused on women’s leadership in international affairs, specifically diplomatic and security agencies. Elise is an Australian representative on the Commonwealth Youth Gender Equality Network, a member of the QLD State Government LGBTI Roundtable, and a member of the Roundtable on LGBTI Human Rights in the Asia and the Pacific. Elise also convenes an annual international human rights festival in Hong Kong.

Elise is recognised as one of 25 ‘Young Women to Watch in International Affairs’, and was recognised by the United Nations Australia Association QLD Community Award for her pioneering work in co-creating Australia’s first national intimate partner violence workshops for minority communities. Elise is also a former New Colombo Plan Scholar from its inaugural year where she conducted research on women’s leadership in Australia and Asia. Elise has represented Australia in official capacities for work and research through Taiwan, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Morocco, Spain, and Turkey.

Mr Gary Dawson

Gary Dawson joined Thales Australia as Vice President Strategy in March 2017 after a career spanning media, politics, corporate affairs and CEO of one of Australia’s leading industry associations. This is his second stint at Thales having previously worked as VP Communications from 2008-2012.

As VP Strategy Gary has responsibility for the over-arching business strategy of Thales in Australia along with Communications and External Affairs, working closely with the business units and functions.

With an Economics Degree from the Australian National University he brings to the role policy and strategy experience at the highest level across both public and private sectors including five years as a Senior Advisor to former Prime Minister John Howard, from 1999-2004. Prior to re-joining Thales Australia Gary was CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, representing Australia’s $120bn value-adding food sector, from 2012-2017.

Ms Sophia Hamblin-Wang

Sophia Hamblin Wang is the Chief Operations Officer of Mineral Carbonation International, a technology platform that transforms CO2 into building materials and other valuable industrial products. Sophia completed a Bachelor of International Business with First Class Honours at ANU in 2009. She has been featured in The New York Times and Time Magazine. An Australian representative at many international stages, Sophia presented on a panel at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos, was a delegate at the first ever UN Youth Climate Summit in New York 2019 and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India in 2017. Sophia is a Founding Director of CO2 Value Australia, an advocacy group for technologies utilising CO2 into chemicals, fuels and minerals. A key part of her work is educating the public and policy-makers that carbon dioxide is a resource that can be turned into value-added products, and that utilisation technologies can make a significant impact to our climate change targets. Additionally, Sophia is a Member of the Australian Capital Territory Climate Change Council, Lecturer at the University of Sydney Business School and was titled Resource Innovator of the Year at the New Materials Summit in Berlin in 2018. As Curator of the Global Shapers Canberra Hub, Sophia also engages in many local, national and international volunteer projects primarily focused on Climate Change, Sustainability, Equity and Inclusion.

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