Date:
14 Nov 2023

The Gender Equality Action Plan (the plan) is the Department of Education and Training’s (the department) strategic plan to promote workplace gender equality as required by the Gender Equality Act 2020 (Vic) (the Act).

This implementation plan accompanies the plan and provides specific actions and measures for the second year of the plan to deliver priorities in each of the focus areas.

Acknowledgements

The Department of Education (the department) acknowledges and pays respects to Elders and all Victorian Aboriginal communities. We honour and respect Traditional Owners, past and present, and value the rich culture and history of the First Peoples of this land.

Language used in this plan

The Department of Education recognises the diversity of Aboriginal people living throughout Victoria. While the terms ‘Koorie’ or ‘Koori’ are commonly used to describe Aboriginal people of southeast Australia, this plan uses the term ‘Aboriginal’ to include all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people living in Victoria. Koorie is maintained when it is the name of a program or title.

Introduction

The Gender Equality Action Plan (the plan) is the Department of Education’s(the department) strategic plan to promote workplace gender[1]equality as required by the Gender Equality Act 2020 (Vic) (the Act). It sets out the department’s commitment to ensuring a gender equitable, safe, inclusive and respectful workplace for all staff, and to addressing gendered structural and cultural inequality across all that we do. It also has a focus on intersectional gender inequality[2], particularly the way in which identity characteristics such as age, sexuality and disability can exacerbate gender inequality.

This implementation plan accompanies the plan and provides specific actions and measures for the second year of the plan to deliver priorities in each of the 3 focus areas for the department’s workforce in the Victorian Public Service (VPS) and Government Teaching Service (GTS).

This implementation plan covers the period 1 July 2023 – 30 June 2024 and intends to build on the progress already made and continue to develop practice and skills to address gender inequality. The review, analysis and reporting of the progress of this implementation plan will influence the development of the following years’ annual implementation plans.

Year 1, 2022 - Foundation

  • Strengthen governance and accountability
  • Improve data sources and systems
  • Build awareness and engagement
  • Review key policies.

Year 2, 2023 - Developing practice and skills

  • Track and measure progress
  • Up-skilling and support our workforces
  • Empower all staff and leaders to understand, share knowledge and drive gender equality in the workplace.

Year 3, 2024 - Embedding

  • Embed gender equality in systems, policies, business planning and practices
  • Address systemic and cultural barriers and resistance
  • Establish gender equality as everyone’s responsibility.

Year 4, 2025 - Monitoring and continuous improvement

  • Monitor implementation and impacts to target interventions
  • Share knowledge and success to drive best practice and innovation
  • Drive continuous improved data and evidence.

Year One Implementation Plan

The Year One Implementation Plan incorporated key actions to strengthen the systems that enable us to capture data, maintain accountability and review key policies. Key achievements included:

  • establishment of systems and processes to increase data available relating to flexible work, recruitment, career progression and development opportunities
  • establishment of a gender equality module in the School Staff Survey to inform biennial workplace gender audits in line with reporting requirements
  • gender equality and diversity actions embedded into strategic and business plans, processes, and templates
  • completion of a self-identification research project into staff behaviour, which includes recommendations to increase the rates of staff self-identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, culturally and gender diverse or a person with a disability
  • flexible and hybrid working arrangements embedded for VPS staff
  • the continued roll out of the Respectful Relationships initiative in schools to support a culture of gender equality.

Footnotes

[1]The department recognises and embraces all gender identities and expressions. The action plan focuses on gender equality broadly, including the experiences of trans and gender diverse staff. However, due to the very low numbers of staff who identify their gender as self-described in eduPay (0.2% of VPS staff and 0.1% of GTS staff), the workforce data analysis that contributed to the formation of the action plan focuses on comparisons of women and men.

[2]Section 6(8) of the Act outlines that gender inequality may be compounded by other forms of disadvantage or discrimination that a person may experience based on Aboriginality, age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation, and other attributes. The Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector refers to this concept as intersectional gender inequality.

Gender Equality Action Plan 2022-25

The department’s priorities for the 3 focus areas will be implemented over the 4-year period of the plan with ongoing monitoring and review. Progress on each priority will be reported against relevant gender equality indicators and assessed against specific measures. Not all priorities are addressed within the year 2 implementation plan activities.

The complete list of priorities and more detail can be found on the department’s website.

Focus Area 1: Promote equality in the composition of our workforce

Priorities:

  1. Improve data capture and analysis to monitor, report and drive improvement
  2. Align key policies and practices with business planning processes to promote gender equality and inclusion
  3. Embed inclusive recruitment and career development opportunities for all staff to have the same opportunities to progress

Focus Area 2: Reduce the gender pay gap

Priorities:

  1. Build a strong awareness of the importance and benefits of gender equality and drive the message of responsibility for all
  2. Promote understanding and availability of leave types and flexible working in all roles and Ievels and for all diverse staff
  3. Develop and promote resources to drive change in gendered occupational segregation trends
  4. Develop and implement an effective gender impact assessment and reporting process

Focus Area 3: Ensure a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace

Priorities:

  1. Empower all staff to build an inclusive and respectful workplace culture which has shared responsibility from staff and leaders to prevent and address harassment, bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination
  2. lncrease the capability of people managers and leaders to address and respond to disrespectful behaviours and complaints
  3. Embed a culture of respect and gender equality for school workforces
  4. Promote the range of safe reporting options and the supports available for staff experiencing or witnessing disrespectful or inappropriate behaviours

Process:

Annual Implementation Plan

Specific actions we will deliver on the focus areas including measures and accountabilities.

Progress Reporting

To embed a culture of accountability, the department will track progress, measure the impact and report to:

  • the Culture, People, and Integrity Committee every 6 months
  • the Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector every 2 years.

Focus Area 1: Promote equality in the composition of our workforce

Priority 1: Improve data capture and analysis to monitor, report and drive improvement

Action 1.1.1

  • Complete 2023 workforce gender audit through examining workforce data and employee experience data against the gender equality indicators
  1. Timeframe: February 2023
  2. Accountability: PES, SW

Progress Measure:

  • Data supplied to Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector by Feb 2024
  • Gender Audit Summary Report 2023 published

Action 1.1.2:

  • Plan and develop the school gender equality survey biennially through the School Staff Survey
  1. Timeframe: November 2023
  2. Accountability: PES, PSP

Progress Measure:

  • Survey developed and deployed in July 2023
  • Results compiled to complete the gender audit

Action 1.1.3

  1. Collect identity data of participants in department facilitated career development, leadership and professional learning programs
  2. Timeframe: November 2023
  3. Accountability: PES, the Academy

Progress Measure:

  • Culturally safe data collection processes implemented from 2023

Action 1.1.4

  • Develop and execute a communication strategy that includes actions to promote and improve rates of self-identification in department systems to improve reporting accuracy
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: PES

Progress Measure:

  • Increase staff self-identification by 3% by June 2024

Priority 2: Align key policies and practices with business planning processes to promote gender equality and inclusion

Action 1.2.1

  • Evaluate the governance improvement pilot – diversity considerations in decision making (Culture, People and Integrity Committee)
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: PES

Progress Measure:

  • Complete end of year evaluation by December 2023 and end of pilot evaluation by June 2024

Priority 3: Embed inclusive recruitment and career development opportunities for all staff to have the same opportunities to progress

Action 1.3.1

  • See action 1.1.4 - Develop and execute a communication strategy that includes actions to promote inclusive recruitment strategies and resources
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: SW, PES

Progress Measure:

  • Completion rates of the inclusive recruitment eLearn should reflect that at least one member of every selection panel for VPS appointments has completed the module by June 2024
  • Increase in the number of school leaders completing the inclusive recruitment eLearn
  • VPS and school HR policies and guidance reviewed

Action 1.3.2

  • Investigate gender balance in school leaderships roles, including consideration of targets for women
  1. Timeframe: December 2023
  2. Accountability: SW

Progress Measure:

  • Research completed and advice on targets provided to the School Gender Equality Working Group and the Gender Equality Stakeholder Reference Group by Dec 2023.

Action 1.3.3

  • Drive change in inclusive recruitment practices for every role in corporate and schools
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: SW, PES

Progress Measure:

  • Completion rates of the inclusive recruitment eLearn should reflect that at least one member of every selection panel for VPS appointments has completed the module by June 2024
  • Increase in the number of school leaders completing the inclusive recruitment eLearn
  • Increased awareness of inclusive recruitment strategies through embedding resources and prompts in recruitment processes for corporate and schools

Action 1.3.4

  • Expand teacher re-engagement support services
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: SW

Measure:

  • Support services identified and implemented

Action 1.3.5

  • Ensure that promotion of corporate and school roles highlight the availability of flexible work options for employees, including the option for candidates to request arrangements that would suit them
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: PES, SW

Progress Measure:

  • Increase in the uptake of flexible work options across all VPS classification levels
  • Increase in the number of part time appointments in school leadership roles • School flexible work policy reviewed
  • Initial scoping of initiatives to support increased flexibility in school-base roles completed

Action 1.3.6

  • Evaluate and analyse SW workforce initiatives (e.g. Career Start Pilot) using available gender disaggregated and diversity data to best support gender and diversity promotion in the teaching workforce
  1. Timeframe: February 2024
  2. Accountability: SW

Progress Measure:

  • Evaluation completed and recommendations provided to policy and program leads

Focus Area 2: Reduce the gender pay gap

Priority 1: Build a strong awareness of the importance and benefits of gender equality and drive the message of responsibility for all

Action 2.1.1

  • See action 1.1.4 - Develop and execute a communication strategy which includes promoting gender equality including gender pay equity
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: PES

Progress Measure:

  • Reduction in the pay gap year on year

Action 2.1.2

  • Provide and promote gender equity, respectful workplaces and professional development resources and training
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: PES

Progress Measure:

  • Respectful workplaces and sexual harassment eLearns reviewed and refreshed by June 2024
  • ‘Professional and Courageous Conversations’ training piloted to VPS managers
  • Completion rates on compliance eLearns monitored and reported to leaders and principals

Action 2.1.3

  • Audit and analyse sample of Academy Professional Learning data with a gender equality and intersectionality lens to inform an action plan.

Timeframe: June 2024

Accountability: Academy

Progress Measure:

  • Action plan developed

Priority 2: Priority 2: Promote understanding and availability of leave types and flexible working in all roles and levels and for all diverse staff

Action 2.2.1

  • Review and update the flexible work policy for schools.
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: SW

Progress Measure:

  • Policy revised and promoted

Action 2.2.2

  • Support enhanced flexible work arrangements for school leaders
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: SW

Progress Measure:

  • Scope additional flexible workplace initiatives to support increased flexibility in school-based leadership roles

Action 2.2.3

  • See action 1.1.4 – Develop and execute a communication strategy that includes actions to promote employee provisions and availability relating to leave and flexible work for both corporate and school employees

Timeframe: June 2024

Accountability: PES, SW

Progress Measure:

  • Reduce the gap between number of women and men accessing parental/caregiver leave

Action 2.2.4

  • Reduce barriers to job share arrangements for both corporate and school-based employees

Timeframe: June 2024

Accountability: PES, SW

Progress Measure:

  • Guidance developed to facilitate job share arrangements for corporate roles
  • Increased utilisation of job share arrangements in corporate roles
  • Investigate initiatives to support increased flexibility in school-based roles

Action 2.3.1

  • Develop guidance to support the utilisation of gender pay gap data insights dashboards to support schools and program areas to understand and address their gender pay gap
  1. Timeframe: September 2023
  2. Accountability: PES, FPIS

Progress Measure:

  • Quick reference guide developed by June 23
  • Develop other support material by September 23
  • Communications promoting the launch released to managers and school leaders

Priority 4 Develop and implement an effective gender impact assessment and reporting processes

Action 2.4.1

  • Develop and roll out the DE process for Gender Impact Assessment (GIA) on policies, programs or services that will have a direct and significant impact on the public and provide guidance, training and support to program areas
  1. Timeframe: February 2024
  2. Accountability: PES

Progress Measure:

  • Rolled out by February 2024

Action 2.4.1

  • Prepare, monitor and review GIAs to ensure assessments consider Aboriginal and diverse staff, are compliant with the Gender Equality Act and identify practice improvement opportunities that will strengthen gender equality outcomes and staff capability.
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: PES, SEPS

Progress Measure:

  • 20% of GIAs reviewed

Focus Area 3 – Ensure a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace

Priority 1: Empower all staff to build an inclusive and respectful workplace culture which has shared responsibility from staff and leaders to prevent and address harassment, bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination.

Action 3.1.1

See action 1.1.4 – Develop and execute a communication strategy that includes actions to increase visibility of Aboriginal and diverse staff across the organisation, highlight days of significance, and sets expectations that empowers staff and leaders to prevent, call out and address negative workplace behaviours

  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: PES

Progress Measure:

  • Increased reporting of negative behaviours through departmental channels that aligns with employee experience data
  • Decreased incidence of negative behaviours indicated in employee experience surveys
  • Improvement in cultural safety measures in the employee experience surveys

Action 3.1.2

  • Refresh the Employee Assistance Program to ensure it meets the needs of Aboriginal and diverse employees
  1. Timeframe: December 2023
  2. Accountability: PES

Progress Measure:

  • EAP provider appointed to provide culturally safe services for Aboriginal and diverse staff
  • Improved satisfaction with the EAP service from Aboriginal and diverse cohorts (2025)

Action 3.1.3

  • Refresh the respectful workplaces program, and enhance sexual harassment prevention efforts aligned with the recommendations from recent inquiries
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: PES

Progress Measure:

  • Respectful Workplaces Program updated by June 2024
  • Respectful workplaces and sexual harassment eLearns reviewed and refreshed by June 2024

Priority 2: Increase the capability of people managers and leaders to address and respond to disrespectful behaviours and complaints

Action 3.2.1

  • Develop and promote the Respectful Workplaces Manager Essentials Guide
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: PES

Progress Measure:

  • Guide developed and promoted

Action 3.2.2

  • Include guidance on gendered violence and aggression in work-related violence policies and procedures
  1. Timeframe: December 2023
  2. Accountability: PES

Progress Measure:

  • Guide enhanced and promoted

Priority 3: Embed a culture of respect and gender equality for school workforce

Action 3.3.1

  • Continue to support all Victorian government schools to implement and embed a whole school approach to Respectful Relationships
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: PES

Progress Measure:

  • 40,000 school-based staff have participated in the whole-school Respectful Relationships initiative professional learning to support a culture of respect and gender equality (2017 – 2024)
  • Delivery of ‘Modelling Respect and Equality” program pilot to school staff which challenges rigid and harmful forms of masculinity to up to 100 Respectful Relationships schools

Action 3.3.2

  • See action 1.1.4 – Develop and execute a communication strategy that includes regional support to promote the implementation of Respectful Relationships in schools
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: PES, SEPS

Progress Measure:

  • Training delivered to Senior Education Improvement Leaders in all regions on supporting implementation of the whole school approach to Respectful Relationships and how it contributes to gender equality

Priority 4: Promote the range of safe reporting options and the supports available for staff experiencing or witnessing disrespectful or inappropriate behaviours

Action 3.4.1

  • See action 1.1.4 – Develop and execute a communication strategy that includes actions to promote the complaints process, reporting options and supports for staff
  1. Timeframe: June 2024
  2. Accountability: PES

Progress Measure:

  • Increased promotion of department channels to report negative behaviours and where to seek support
  • Improvement in employee experience surveys regarding feeling safe to raise concerns
  • Decreased incidence of negative behaviours indicated in employee experience surveys
  • Improvement in cultural safety measures in the employee experience surveys

Action 3.4.2

  • Develop and deliver bystander training pilot to boost employee capability in calling out and standing up to disrespectful behaviours.
  1. Timeframe: February 2024
  2. Accountability: PES

Progress Measure:

  • Training pilot delivered and evaluated
  • Improvement in cultural safety measures in the People Matter Survey and School Staff Survey