Victorian Minister for Local Government, Melissa Horne, has congratulated 60 graduates from the first round of the State Government’s Women Leading Locally program which was created to improve gender equality in local government by supporting women to break down barriers to nominating for council.
Victoria set a national record for female representation in the 2020 local government elections, with women making up 43.8% of elected councillors.
“Women Leading Locally has been transformative for its participants. It’s wonderful to see women emerging from the program ready to campaign in the local government elections next year,” said Minister Horne.
“I look forward to seeing graduates seeking and winning leadership positions in their communities.”
The Victorian Government’s recently updated Gender Equality Strategy, Our Equal State, champions the target of 50-50 gender representation on councils by 2025. Women Leading Locally is one of many programs that supports this, said Minister for Women, Natalie Hutchins.
“Our Gender Equality Strategy highlights more than 100 actions to bring us closer to gender equality, including achieving 50 per cent women mayors and councillors by 2025. This program is part of that mission,” she said.
Last month, 65 participants from across Victoria started the second round of the program. These women were drawn from local government areas with low female representation. They also represent historically underrepresented groups including Aboriginal women, culturally and linguistically diverse women, young women, women living with disability and women who identify as LGBTQI+.
One of the first graduates is Rabecca Mphande, from Cardinia Shire, who has been involved in teaching and helping African-Australian and other culturally and linguistically diverse community groups over many years and is motivated by closing the gender gap as well as empowering her community.
“In my work and advocacy, I see every day the challenges faced by many people in my community – even more if they’re women and culturally diverse,” she said.
“The Women Leading Locally program has helped to deepen my knowledge and skills so I can even better support my community.”
Women Leading Locally is delivered by the Institute of Community Directors Australia in partnership with Women for Election.