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Council candidates to answer key questions on gender equality

With the opening of nominations for the 2020 Victorian local government elections today, the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) and Gender Equity Victoria (GEN VIC) are calling for all candidates to demonstrate a strong commitment to gender equality to ensure a gender equal recovery from COVID19 in Victoria.

“A commitment from all candidates to gender equality is essential in the 2020 election if we are to address the gendered impact of the COVID19 pandemic. Local solutions to job creation, rebooting regional tourism and the management of public spaces will all be determined at a local level, so it is important that men, women and gender diverse people share in that decision making.” said Kathryn Arndt, VLGA Chief Executive Officer.

“COVID19 is resulting in a number of challenges for women in Victoria. They are experiencing higher job losses than men, while at the same time taking on increased responsibilities for the care of young children, educating school aged children in the home as well as additional domestic and home hygiene duties,” said Tanja Kovac, GEN VIC Chief Executive Officer.

“We need councils to address the social isolation, health and economic impacts of the virus on women and develop gender equal solutions to the pandemic at a local level.”

Councillors will also be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the new Gender Equality Act 2020,  which comes into force in March next year. Under the Act, all local councils will be required to report on activities and strategies for achieving gender equality.

“Councils will need to report on a range of different measures of gender equality and diversity in all their policies, programs and services. As the decision-makers, councillors need to be able to apply a ‘gender lens’ or ‘diversity lens’ when voting in the council chamber.” Ms Arndt said.

The VLGA and GenVic is encouraging voters and organisers of local community forums to ask candidates standing for election how they plan to support gender equality in their communities?

  1. How will you address the impact of COVID19 on women in your communities?
  2. What steps will you take to address the social isolation and mental health impacts of COVID19 on men, women and gender diverse people in your communities?
  3. What will you do to ensure the Gender Equality Act is implemented in your local council?

The Victorian Government has committed to achieving a target of 50/50 women and men as local government councillors by 2025. Currently the representation of women sits at 38%, with 14 local councils having only 1 female councillor.

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