Gender Equality Act 2020
Fourth Action Plan actions
- Primary prevention is key
- Respond to sexual violence and sexual harassment
- 15 Strengthen the capacity of all sectors to address sexual harassment to ensure women are safe at work, while studying, in public and online.
What are we doing?
The Victorian Government has committed to introduce a Gender Equality Act 2020 (Act) is a founding reform of Safe and Strong: A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy (www.vic.gov.au/safe-and-strong-victorian-gender-equality). Commencing March 31 2021, the Act will require the Victorian public sector, local government and Victorian universities to develop and implement Gender Equality Action Plans, provide data against a range of workplace gender equality indicators and publicly report on progress. The Act will also facilitate greater gender equality in the wider community through ensuring that organisations accounts for the needs of people of different genders and backgrounds when developing and reviewing their community-facing policies, programs and services (https://engage.vic.gov.au/gender-equality).
What have we achieved so far?
- The Act passed Parliament on 20 February 2020 and received Royal Assent on 25 February.
- Dr Niki Vincent was appointed Victoria’s first Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner under the Act.
In preparation for the commencement of the Act, the Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector has developed a series of guidance materials on the Act’s core obligations; undertaking a Workplace Gender Audit, developing a Gender Equality Action Plan and undertaking Gender Impact Assessments. A Panel of Providers has also been established to provide sector-level support to entities, and a Reporting Platform is in development.
What is next?
- The Act will commence on 31 March 2021, with the first Gender Equality Action Plans due to the Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner by 31 October 2021.
What difference will we make?
- The Act will seek to eliminate the gender pay gap in the Victorian public sector, as well as universities and councils, through addressing its key drivers, such as access to and uptake of flexible work arrangements, gendered occupational and industrial segregation, women’s representation in leadership positions and increased participation in the workforce.
- Agencies that fall within scope of the Act will have a better understanding of the drivers of workplace gender inequality and will be required to implement strategies and measures to improve gender equality in the workplace.
- The Act will result in better policies, programs and service delivery that more effectively meet community needs, support better outcomes for people of all genders, and are more cost-effective in the long-term.
- There are economic benefits associated with increased women’s workforce participation, including greater productivity and reduced government spending on social services and concessions.
- By addressing workplace gender inequality, the Act will lead to improved social outcomes, particularly in terms of preventing violence against women and girls, social inclusion and health and wellbeing.