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We're the independent peak body for organisations, practitioners and individuals promoting gender equity in Victoria.

How many places and public art in Victoria honour women?

What does a mythical princess, a concubine and a queen have in common? They are the only women featured in the names of the 79 Victorian local government areas. If the gap is in LGA names, it’s everywhere. In town and suburb names. In road and street names. In park, reserves, playgrounds and building names. In statues, monuments and other commemorations.

That’s why Gender Equity Victoria (GEN VIC) and Geographic Names Victoria partnered in groundbreaking research (in the form of a local government survey) to identify the gap in representation in public place naming and public art in Victoria and establish what would help the sector make progress.

The survey was taken up by 84% (66 out of 79) of the Victorian LG sector

  • 12 place naming and public art audits were provided (many in complete) identifying our first state wide data set
    • 1 in 5 places commemorate women and men in Victoria
    • 1 in 10 commemorative names honour women
    • Less than 5% (2000) of commemorative names have been formally classified on VicNames.
  • 3 x GIAs completed with 40 stating they plan to do a GIA in the coming 18 months
  • 6 x notable women lists developed
  • 15 stated they had completed or commenced action with 27 other LGAs stating they would commence action from 2022
  • 8 said they had a plan to address the gap

In 2023, 54 places officially commemorated people according to Geographic Names Victoria, which was an increase of 40% from 2022.  The number of places honouring women more than doubled between 2022 and 2023 and increased by 35% of overall commemorative naming over the same period.  Womens commemorative naming still however trails that of men 35% to 65%.

The research also identified the needs of Victorian LGAs in regard to making progress on commemoration equality.  The most popular requests where the delivery of professional development sessions focused on the business case and ‘How to do’ a policy, audit, plan, GIA and committee; as well as the provision of resources and tools to support action and presentations to staff, executive, councillors and the public.

The research has identified an important initial baseline of data from a small, helped shape strategy, investment and action to build sector capability and help address the gap, ensuring the stories of women are elevated in public places. It is also assisting in cataloguing 250,000 place names in Victoria.

The information garnered from the LGA sector has enabled investment to be directed into initiatives that directly respond to demonstrated needs.