Using the Gender Equality Act 2020 as our strongest lever for change

The Gender Equality Act 2020 is a powerful tool available to embed gender equality across our state. The Act requires the Victorian public sector, local councils and universities to:

  • take positive action towards gender equality
  • regularly collect and report data on gender equality in workplaces by completing workplace gender audits
  • use that data to develop and implement strategies and measures to progress gender equality in their workplace
  • publicly report on their progress
  • promote gender equality in policies, programs and services that impact the public by completing gender impact assessments
  • consider how gender inequality may be made worse by other forms of disadvantage.

In 2023, all Victorian public sector organisations with obligations under the Act have completed workplace gender audits and developed gender equality action plans (GEAPs). This means almost 300 organisations, approximately 12% of the Victorian workforce, [1] have a plan with key strategies and measures they will undertake to improve gender equality in their workplace. These organisations need to make progress against 7 key indicators. For example, closing their gender pay gap, ensuring policies support all workers balance caring responsibilities and striving for equal representation in leadership.

We will keep working with public sector organisations to fulfil the need for gender impact assessments on all policies, programs and services that have a direct and significant impact on the public. The Act also requires us to think about how other types of disadvantage can make gender inequality worse. We will factor this in when developing new initiatives to address gender inequality.

Case study: fairer access for women and girls in community sport

Women and girls not getting fair access to the local football oval or basketball court will become a relic of the past thanks to Australia's first Fair access policy roadmap. The roadmap launched in Victoria in 2022, following extensive consultation with local government and the sport and recreation sector.

The Office for Women in Sport and Recreation leads the roadmap, in partnership with Sport and Recreation Victoria and VicHealth. The roadmap requires local councils to have policies or practices that ensure women and girls receive fair and equitable access to publicly-owned community sports infrastructure, such as change rooms, ovals and courts.

With support from the Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector, the roadmap connects the obligations of local government authorities under the Gender Equality Act 2020 with the eligibility for funding for community sports infrastructure from 1 July 2024.

In doing so, we will achieve meaningful and sustained progress towards gender equality, including in the use of community assets and in health outcomes.

The roadmap is part of the Victorian Government's $18.8 million package designed to level the playing field for women and girls in sport.


[1] The number of public sector employees covered by the Gender Equality Act 2020 is approximately 440,000.

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