Workplace Equality and Respect in the public sector
Fourth Action Plan actions
- Primary prevention is key
- 1 Advance gender equality and respect for women through effective primary prevention initiatives.
- 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 provided $435,000 in 2019-2020 to fund the implementation of the Workplace Equality and Respect (WER) program in Victorian Public Service departments. The program seeks to embed best-practice workplace programs promoting gender equality and respectful cultures in public sector workplaces.
Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence found that workplaces are important sites for preventing and responding to family violence because the effects of violence reach into workplaces and because attitudes and cultures that prevail in workplaces can influence the level to which violence against women is supported or condoned.
Through Safe and Strong: A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy (https://www.vic.gov.au/safe-and-strong-victorian-gender-equality), the Victorian Government is driving landmark gender equality reforms to set a new standard in Victorian Government workplaces.
What have we achieved so far?
The Victorian Government provided $435,000 in 2019-2020 to fund the implementation of the Workplace Equality and Respect (WER) program in Victorian Public Service (VPS) departments.
The program seeks to embed best-practice workplace programs promoting gender equality and respectful cultures in public sector workplaces.
The WER standards have been implemented by 19 local councils across Victoria from late 2018 to early 2020 as part of a Local Government Grants Program.
VPS departments have implemented most elements of the WER program including self-assessments against the WER standards and engaging in training to support implementation and best practice. Work undertaken to implement the WER standards supported the Government departments which engaged in the program to establish a strong foundation for their obligations under the Gender Equality Act 2020.
What is next?
- The Gender Equality Act 2020 is now the main mechanism to address gender inequality in the Victorian public sector, local government, university and TAFE workplaces which covers approximately 11 per cent of the Victorian workforce.
- All defined entities under the Act are now required to undertake workplace gender audits to inform the development of Gender Equality Action Plans every four years, and report on progress every two years.
What difference will we make?
The short-term intended outcomes for this program included:
- WER in the VPS was intended to support the systematisation of gender equality and prevention of family violence practices in the VPS, recognising that workplaces are one of the key settings identified by the Royal Commission into Family Violence. This was done through engaging Our Watch to facilitate capacity building and training in line with the WER program.
- The long-term intended outcome for this program is that public sector workplaces build respectful and gender equitable cultures.