Gender Equity Victoria celebrates the landmark passage of the Gender Equality Act, which will set a new standard for equity and equality for women and men in Victoria. The legislation draws attention to the long history of gender inequities and social and cultural change that is necessary to shift attitudes and increase the participation, economic security and equality of women.
“This is significant legislation; there’s nothing else like it in the country.” said Tanja Kovac, CEO of GEN VIC. “In the last 24 hours we’ve seen yet another violent death of a woman, Hannah Clarke, and her children. Violence against women and kids starts with gender inequality, that’s why this Act is so important.”
The Act establishes equity measures, such as gender targets in the public service, universities, and local government, and monitors performance on flexible work, pregnancy, parental leave and superannuation in public organisations. Furthermore, the Act aims to ensure that workplaces implement gender equality action plans and publicly report on their progress.
“Gender equality is essential, not just to prevent violence against men, women and children, but to the future of Victoria’s economy. The economic potential of women can only be unlocked by addressing the challenges of the gender pay gap and parenthood penalties.” said Ms Kovac. “We endorse the strategy of setting targets in a range of settings. Setting gender targets is a proven success tool in advancing equality. It is used by organisations all over the world – from the International Monetary Fund to AirBnB to AGL Energy – to create more inclusive, flexible workplaces. Targets improve the lives of men, women and children” said Kovac.
“We commend the State Government and look forward to hearing how it will resource gender experts to support organisations on their journey towards equality”
The Act was developed through a comprehensive consultation process with the general public, including women’s and civil society organisations, where GEN VIC was in full support of the legislation and provided key recommendations for its further development. GEN VIC’s submission is available here: https://www.genvic.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/GEN-VIC-Submission-to-Gender-Equality-Bill-Exposure-Draft-2018.pdf