Victorian public sector to report on gender equality progress

The Victorian Government has taken an important step towards achieving gender equal workplaces in the public sector, with the commencement of the Australian-first Gender Equality Act 2020.

The new Act requires 300 public sector employers – including local councils and universities – to report on and improve gender equality in the workplace.

Victoria’s inaugural Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner, Dr Niki Vincent is working with public sector workplaces – which employ more than 380,000 people – to close the gender pay gap, improve gender equality at all levels of the workforce and eliminate workplace sexual harassment.

“The Gender Equality Act is the first of its kind in Australia, requiring public sector organisations to show real progress on gender equality in the workplace and our community,” said Dr Vincent.

“The Act will have far-reaching benefits, not only for public sector workers who make up 11% of the Victorian workforce, but for the people they serve.” 

Organisations will also need to undertake gender impact assessments – ensuring that policies, programs and services consider the different needs of Victorians of all genders. 

International evidence shows that when compelled to identify gender gaps and develop a plan to address those gaps, organisations take deliberate and positive action.

“Victoria continues to lead the country when it comes to improving gender equality – this Act will help ensure all genders enjoy equal rights, opportunities, responsibilities and outcomes,” said Minister for Women, Gabrielle Williams.

“The commencement of the Gender Equality Act marks an important milestone – but it is not the end of the journey. We will continue driving gender equality in our workplaces and across the Victorian community.” 

The state government says it is driving gender equality with a $435 million investment in progressing gender equality and ending family violence, including more than $13 million to implement the Gender Equality Act.

This funding was part of a targeted range of economic supports that put women at the heart of Victoria’s economic recovery as we move through the coronavirus pandemic, including $150 million to support 6,900 women into job placements, and $170 million to make kinder free in 2021.

Dr Vincent and the Commission are undertaking extensive consultation with the sector and are providing support to organisations to fulfill their obligations under the Act. 

The Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector has published detailed guidance and resources on will provide training and support to organisations.