Generally, right-wing political parties tend to fall behind their left-wing counterparts on women’s representation. Conservative parties emphasize individual merit rather than structural barriers as an explanation for low levels of women succeeding in candidate selection processes. Some right-wing parties have made more progress than others. Comparing parties within the conservative family, we aim to reveal what institutional factors may retard or promote women’s representation. We find that the decentralization of the candidate selection process combined with electoral losses created opportunities for critical actors to act to increase women’s representation to around 20% in Australia, some 15 years earlier than in the United Kingdom.