JavaScript is required

Celebrate Victorian women

On International Women's Day, and every day, we #CelebrateVicWomen.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a time to celebrate all Victorian women, in all their diversity.

Women of all backgrounds and identities make incredible contributions to life in Victoria.

We recognise these contributions and challenge the biases that hold women back from achieving economic equity, in the workforce and public life.

Ahead of IWD Michele Clark, Director of Office for Women, gave a TEDx Talk on Reference Man. He’s a mysterious character that influences our lives – but not in a good way. Michele explains how eliminating Reference Man can create a more gender equal world.

View the full TEDx Talk on YouTube.

What is IWD?

International Women’s Day is celebrated globally on 8 March. IWD is an opportunity for people and organisations to reflect on women’s contributions at all levels of society and galvanise efforts towards gender equality for women and girls around the world.

The theme for this year's International Women’s Day is 'Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress.' If you would like to find out more about the theme, visit UN Women Australia.

This year’s theme encourages us to reflect on the central role economic equity plays in our broader gender equality efforts.

It identifies women’s economic empowerment as an essential part of a gender equal world.

Economic equity means fairly recognising everyone’s social and economic contributions, levelling the playing field for people who face additional or compounding barriers.

For women, economic inequity shows up in so many aspects of their lives, with far reaching consequences.

On average, women are paid less and take on more unpaid care. They are less able to fulfill their potential in the paid workforce or senior leadership positions. And women face higher rates of harassment, discrimination and gendered violence at work.

On a broader workforce level, we see consistently lower pay in traditionally women-dominated industries like healthcare and social assistance. Men are over-represented in higher paying, more secure work in industries like construction, transport and mining. This is a major driver of the gender pay gap.

On top of this, many women face intersecting economic barriers due to the discrimination and inequality they experience based on factors like:

  • ethnicity or cultural background
  • disability
  • age
  • sexuality.

So what are we doing about it?

  • Our equal state: Victoria’s Gender Equality Strategy includes 36 actions that directly relate to improving economic equity for Victorian women, these include:
  • Improving the availability and appropriateness of out of school hours care for children with disability.
  • Exploring new ways to support leadership roles and representation for women from diverse backgrounds and gender diverse people in the private sector.
  • Exploring innovative ways to improve working arrangements in the Victorian Public Service and reduce the gendered impacts of unpaid care.
  • Exploring ways to address challenges faced by women-owned businesses.
  • Exploring opportunities to leverage the existing skills and experiences of migrant and refugee women.
  • Providing the Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee for casual and contract workers in priority occupations.
  • New targets to halve the gender pay gap and double the number of men taking available paid parental leave in the Victorian public sector within 5 years.

Other Victorian Government initiatives

  • Supporting more women to enter traditionally male-dominated industries with almost $3 million to develop Women in Manufacturing and Energy Strategies. The strategies provide an opportunity to transform these high-growth sectors by supporting the attraction, recruitment, retention and advancement of Victorian women in industries where they’ve traditionally been underrepresented. This critical work will address the gender imbalance in these historically male-dominated workforces, which is a key driver of the gender pay gap. It will also make an important contribution to addressing labour and skills shortages.
  • Establishing a gender responsive budgeting unit in the Department of Treasury and Finance to ensure budgetary decisions actively support progress towards gender equality.
  • Delivering the groundbreaking $14 billion Best Start Best Life program, which will see free, universal three and four year old kinder rolled out across the state, along with investments in Victoria’s kindergarten workforce and infrastructure. This will make high quality childcare more accessible and affordable for Victorian families.
  • Supporting female founders and entrepreneurs through the Alice Anderson Fund, a $10 million Angel side-car fund supporting women-led startups.
  • Delivering the Investing in Women Grassroots Grants program, which supports grassroots organisations to run activities that empower women, such as events, training programs, community projects, awareness-raising campaigns and advocacy efforts.
  • Addressing longstanding barriers to women’s economic equity in Victoria by implementing the 31 recommendations handed down by the Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women.
  • Celebrating and increasing the visibility of outstanding women through initiatives like the Honour Roll of Women.

Follow along on social channels

Women Victoria

Department of Families, Fairness and Housing