Our actions include new commitments, areas for future work, and successful programs and policies.
Our actions to create a gender equal state have 5 focus areas:
- Cultural change
Victoria is free from limiting gender norms and is an equal, fair and inclusive place for all genders.
- Health and wellbeing
The health and wellbeing of Victorians is not limited by gender.
- Safety and respect
All Victorians are safe and treated with respect.
- Economic equity
The economic rights and opportunities of Victorians are not limited by gender.
- The public sector as a leader
The Victorian Government leads by example and advances reforms for gender equality.
- Geographic Names Victoria will work with naming authorities, including local government, to increase the commemoration of women in place naming, by setting a level of 70% of new requests for commemorative naming of new roads, placenames and landmarks to be achieved within the lifetime of the Strategy.
- Implement diversity benchmarks in contracting to ensure leadership and recognition programs funded by the Women’s portfolio are inclusive of women and gender diverse people from across the Victorian community, including Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women, women with disability, LGBTIQ+ communities, women from multicultural backgrounds and women from regional and rural communities.
Supports Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 13
- Develop and implement an approach to address gender bias in careers education and pathways options in the implementation of the Senior Secondary Pathways Reforms. This will include more explicitly addressing gender bias through:
- career initiatives that support student decision-making and school career planning
- addressing barriers to girls’ participation in STEM education, and barriers to boys’ participation in the care industries.
- Maintain gender parity on Victorian boards and courts and increase the diversity of women on boards.
- Deliver the gender equity in local government target made in Victoria’s first gender equality strategy, Safe and strong, by achieving 50% women mayors and councillors by 2025.
- Explore ways to support Victorian early childhood education and care services as the sector expands by investing in educators and teachers.
Responds to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 7
- Explore further ways to embed a gender equality focus across the VET–TAFE system to improve outcomes for women in vocational education and training, including strategies to increase the proportion of women in sectors that traditionally have lower female representation.
Responds to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 17
- Investigate strategies to increase the number of men in sectors that traditionally have lower male representation, including social services, education and health services.
Supports Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 23
- Explore ways to address age-based discrimination and ableism for women and gender diverse people, especially in the workplace.
- Support the shEqual project to reduce sexism and the objectification of women and gender inequality in advertising.
- Advocate to the Australian Government to increase regulation of advertising in Australia to reduce the use and impact of harmful depictions of women and gender nonconforming people.
- Support inclusive recognition of women in Victoria through targeted programs, including the Victorian Honour Roll of Women.
- Support women from diverse backgrounds and gender diverse people to take on leadership roles and be represented in decision-making spaces through targeted programs.
- Support men to take on more caring roles by investing $2 million in grants to create new and support existing fathers’ groups across the state, with funding distributed through local councils.
- Deliver a grassroots grant program for gender equality in 2023 to support and empower Victorian women and celebrate contributions to their communities.
Health and wellbeing
- Deliver the best mental health and wellbeing outcomes for women and gender diverse people by building gender impact assessments into the design process for all new mental health services and initiatives resulting from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.
- Expand gender sensitive mental health services and end sexual and gender-based violence in bed-based settings by:
- ensuring all new mental health inpatient facilities are designed and built with the necessary scale and infrastructure to enable gender-based separation in all bedrooms and bathrooms
- reviewing and retrofitting existing inpatient facilities to achieve gender-based separation where possible
- ensuring all mental health inpatient facilities meet the minimum standards for gender safety set out in the Chief Psychiatrist’s Guidelines.
- Deliver and evaluate acute women’s mental health beds.
- Require all Victorian Government-funded health and medical research to include proactive and routine consideration of sex, gender and gender diversity at all stages.
- Provide free period products in public places by installing up to 1,500 pad and tampon machines at up to 700 public sites including public hospitals, courts, TAFEs, public libraries, train stations and major cultural institutions like the State Library of Victoria and the Melbourne Museum.
- Investigate strategies and innovative ideas to destigmatise periods alongside the provision of free pads and tampons.
- Continue to deliver free period products in Victorian government schools, helping to address barriers to participation in education for menstruating students.
- Support the establishment of a Women’s Health Research Institute.
- Establish 20 women’s health clinics across Victoria, as well as a dedicated Aboriginal-led women’s health clinic, a mobile women’s health clinic and extra funding to support workforce expansion for the health sector.
- Establish an inquiry into women’s pain management.
- Expand the number of surgeries for endometriosis.
- Establish support groups and mental health programs to support women experiencing menopause.
- Support 200 community and mental health service providers to become Rainbow Tick accredited to ensure better care for LGBTIQ+ Victorians and make sure they are safe and included.
- Deliver a Pride in Ageing pilot to address the needs of ageing LGBTIQ+ Victorians.
- Explore opportunities to leverage healthcare advances driven by the pandemic to improve the health of older women and gender diverse people, and their ability to protect themselves (Ageing well action plan 2022–2026) using an intersectional lens.
- Explore ways to address loneliness and isolation for older women and carers.
- Deliver tailored support for people with an eating disorder, including to continue and expand the delivery of the Enhanced Integrated Specialist Model at 6 metropolitan health services (Alfred, Austin, Eastern, Melbourne, Monash, Royal Children’s) and 4 regional health services (Barwon, Bendigo, Grampians, La Trobe), and through implementation of the Victorian eating disorders strategy.
- Continue to level the playing field for all women and girls in sport and active recreation, including in the suitability and access to infrastructure, leadership, participation and in closing the visibility gap through the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation, the Change Our Game initiative and other related programs.
- Implement the Victorian women’s sexual and reproductive health plan 2022–2030 to ensure Victorian women, girls and gender diverse people have excellent sexual and reproductive health outcomes, including by creating and expanding existing and new services.
- Support trans and gender diverse Victorians through the Trans and Gender Diverse in Community Health program, which delivers peer navigation support through multidisciplinary clinics and training for health practitioners.
- Deliver the $900,000 funding package to expand access to vital mental health and support services for trans and gender diverse Victorians.
- Create safe spaces for LGBTIQ+ young people to access mental health and wellbeing services in regional Victoria.
- Deliver statewide LGBTIQ+ inclusion training and resources.
- Use quotas to reach gender balance for the Year 9 intake of the 2 co-educational Victorian selective entry high schools, if not achieved through current interventions.
- Improve the availability and appropriateness of outside of school hours care for children with disability.
Responds to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 8
- Deliver a Fair Jobs Code for the social and community services sector to improve job security and conditions for the majority-women community services workforces.
Responds in part to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 24
- Increase the number of flexible work opportunities for school leaders.
- Re-engage women with teaching qualifications in the schools workforce.
- Explore the role of the Victorian Government to improve job security and conditions, consistent with the Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 24 for majority-women social services.
Responds to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 24
- Explore new ways to support leadership roles and representation for women from diverse backgrounds and gender diverse people in the private sector.
- Undertake research on the fair economic value* of care and community work, including:
- exploring ways to deliver the fair economic value of care and community work through improved pay and conditions
- exploring better ways of capturing the economic value of care and community work in state economic data
- exploring options to track the delivery of the fair economic value of care and community work
- taking practical steps to deliver fair economic value and public accountability.
Responds in part to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 23
* ‘Fair economic value’ describes work that is appropriately valued for its economic contribution, including direct and indirect economic benefits.
- Explore ways to improve gender equality through public sector industrial relations negotiations, such as through updated leave and superannuation provisions, and the promotion of policies that seek to balance the share of caring responsibilities.
Supports Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 4
- Explore innovative ways to improve working arrangements in the Victorian Public Service and reduce the gendered impacts of unpaid care, such as:
- explore more flexible ways of working
- increasing job sharing opportunities in shift and frontline roles that are women-dominated
- improving the job security of women in the public sector.
- Explore ways to advocate to the Australian Government to improve investment in and stewardship of early childhood education and care to further outcomes for women’s participation in the workforce.
Responds to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 5
- Explore ways to address challenges faced by women-owned businesses, including:
- research on women’s representations in Victorian small businesses
- ways to expand the suite of initiatives that support women-owned businesses and women entrepreneurs to start up or to scale up
- co-designed programs for Aboriginal women in business and considering needs of women in regional and rural Victoria.
Responds to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendations 26, 27 and 28
- Explore opportunities to leverage the existing skills and experiences of migrant and refugee women, including reviewing how overseas qualifications can be better recognised and matched to job vacancies in the Victorian labour market, and the role of training and skills in supplementing foundation skills and English as an additional language.
- Advocate for immediate reforms to the Australian Government’s Child Care Subsidy (CCS) to improve access to early childhood education and remove barriers to workforce participation for families experiencing economic hardship, including newly arrived refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. Reforms include:
- removing the Activity Test
- a review of eligibility and administration of the subsidy that unduly impacts children and families experiencing vulnerability.
- Investigate innovative ways to increase the digital literacy of older women, in particular from multicultural communities and women with disability, giving consideration to accessibility and affordability.
- Identify options to strengthen the Social Procurement Framework’s aim of women’s equality and safety to ensure it supports the goals, principles and indicators of the Gender Equality Act 2020 , including through a broader strategic review of the Social Procurement Framework.
Responds to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 21
- Continue to roll out trades opportunities for Victorian young women through innovative programs, such as the Apprenticeship Innovation Fund, creating career pathways for woman apprentices in male-dominated trades.
Supports in part Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 18
- Build an online Life Skills Toolkit for young people, with a particular focus on building financial literacy of young women to have the skills and confidence to become independent.
- Develop and implement women in manufacturing and women in energy industry strategies to support gender equality and address barriers to attracting, recruiting and retaining women in majority-men industries.
Responds to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 19
- Develop and implement a new Women in construction strategy 2023–2031 to continue to drive progress on gender equity in the construction industry, including consideration of raising employment targets in the Building equality policy.
Responds to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 20
- Better support for women in the transport sector and encourage workplaces to be inclusive and adaptive through the Women in transport strategy.
- Provide the Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee for casual and contract workers in priority occupations, recognising that due to lack of access to paid sick and carers leave many insecure workers have to choose between a day’s pay or their health, and that many workers most at risk are women.
- Deliver the Big Housing Build Aboriginal target of 10% net of all new social housing with a focus on housing allocations for Aboriginal women affected by homelessness and who may be affected by family violence, or who are returning to the community after exiting prison.
- Increase access to finance for women founders and early-stage start-ups through continued delivery of the Alice Anderson Fund.
- Provide tailored support for jobseekers who are long-term unemployed, including women facing barriers to employment through Jobs Victoria’s employment services.
- Deliver the Yuma Yirramboi strategy with a vision to achieve economic parity for Aboriginal Victorians within our lifetime, including increasing economic opportunities available to Aboriginal women.
- Deliver the Rural Women’s Leadership and Mentoring Programs to address barriers for women seeking leadership opportunities in agriculture.
- Build over 12,000 new social and affordable homes, allocating 1,000 homes for victim survivors of family violence and increase the supply of accessible social housing for people with disability.
- Implement the Homes Victoria Gender equity plan 2023–25 to leverage the Victorian Government’s significant investment in the Big Housing Build to address gender inequality.
- Deliver the Pride in Place initiative (Homes Victoria) for older LGBTIQ+ Victorians, and support LGBTIQ+ Victorians of all ages experiencing or at risk of homelessness to secure housing in a safe and respectful way.
- Continue to advocate to the Australian Government and Fair Work Commission:
- for fair pay and conditions for care and community sector workforces to deliver the fair economic value of the work
- to address the pay gap in superannuation
- to further reform paid parental leave, such as through consideration of reform options including paying superannuation on the Australian Government’s Paid Parental Leave (PPL) Scheme and introducing a more generous ‘use it or lose it’ non-transferrable portion of PPL for fathers and partners.
Responds to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendations 23 and 25
- Continue to advocate to the Australian Government for further improvements to social security system that better support women, including increasing social security payments to carers, who are overwhelmingly women.
- Deliver support services and programs to strengthen employment opportunities for women leaving custody to reconnect with their families and access housing.
- Deliver the $14 billion Best Start, Best Life reforms that aim to reduce the cost of access to early childhood education and care and lessen one of the biggest barriers to women’s workforce participation, including the following key reforms:
- delivering Free Kinder for all Victorian 3 and 4-year-old children at participating services in both standalone (sessional) services and long day care (childcare) settings
- 4-Year-Old Kindergarten transitioning to Pre-Prep, increasing to a universal 30-hour a week program of play-based learning available to every 4-year-old child in Victoria
- establishing 50 Victorian government-owned and affordable early learning centres in areas with the greatest need, making it easier for families to access education and care.
Supports Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 6
- Deliver the Outside Schools Hours Care Establishment Grants Initiative with $81.7 million to support more than 400 schools across Victoria to provide outside hours school care services to reduce barriers to women’s workforce participation, ensuring parents and carers get back into the workforce, study or training.
Supports Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 8
- Support early childhood education service providers to be culturally safe and inclusive for children and families who are newly arrived or from a refugee background, making it easier for parents to return to work and study.
Safety and respect
- Undertake a gender impact assessment on the Victoria Planning Provisions and guidelines to create places designed with the needs of women and girls in mind.
- Continue work to restrict the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) for workplace sexual harassment cases in Victoria.
Responds in part to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 9
- Improve the safety and the perceptions of safety of women and girls during their end-to-end transport journeys through the delivery of a number of initiatives.
- Explore ways to use Victorian Government licensing and regulation to improve workplace safety and reduce gendered violence in different types of businesses.
- Explore ways to better support women experiencing economic hardship due to family violence, including economic abuse, using an intersectional lens.
Responds to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 31
- Explore options to introduce a standalone non-fatal strangulation offence, to address this serious and insidious form of offending that occurs particularly in the context of family violence.
- Support schools and early childhood settings to promote and model respect, positive attitudes and behaviours through:
- continuing to support all Victorian government schools and participating Catholic and independent schools to implement and embed Respectful Relationships
- embedding consent education in all Victorian government schools
- continuing to deliver Respectful Relationships professional learning to early childhood educators in Victorian Government-funded kindergarten programs.
- Strengthen anti-vilification laws to provide greater protection for Victorians of all genders, including through working with agencies such as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
- Continue to deliver the Safe Schools program, which helps Victorian schools foster a safe environment that is inclusive of LGBTIQ+ students.
- Provide gender-responsive programs and interventions for girls and young women in the youth justice system that recognise their complex needs and significant trauma histories, including abuse, family violence, self-harm and higher rates of mental illness (Youth justice strategic plan 2020–2030).
- Implement the Free from violence: second action plan 2022–2025 to ensure Victorian women are safe and free from violence by investing in community-led gender equality and primary prevention projects across the state, from sports clubs to TAFEs, to local government and women’s health services.
- Continue to support implementation of an affirmative consent model in the Crimes Act 1958 to better protect victim survivors of sexual offences, putting greater focus on the actions of the accused than just the actions of the victim survivor.
- Reform bail laws to address the disproportionate impacts current bail settings have on women, including Aboriginal women.
- Enact legislation and deliver targeted programs to support and protect those involved in the sex work industry.
- Work with the Australian Government and states and territories to address recommendations of the Respect@Work report as outlined in the Government response to the Ministerial Taskforce on Workplace Sexual Harassment.
- Implement the government’s response to recommendations of the Ministerial Taskforce on Workplace Sexual Harassment to prevent and better respond to sexual harassment at work.
Supports Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 9
- Deliver the WorkWell Respect Fund and the WorkWell Respect Network to support employers to prevent work-related gendered violence including sexual harassment in Victorian workplaces.
- Support initiatives to address elder abuse with a particular focus on older women who are significantly more at risk than men.
- Continue implementing Respect and Equality in TAFE to strengthen the TAFE network’s approach to prevention of gender-based violence and gender equality.
Public sector as a leader
- Halve the gender pay gap in the Victorian public sector within 5 years through the implementation of the Gender Equality Act 2020. According to the Baseline Report the median base salary pay gap was 6.1% and median total remuneration pay gap was 8.1% in organisations covered under the Act.
- Reach gender parity in CEO roles in each portfolio in the Victorian public sector within 5 years.
- Reach gender parity in senior leadership positions in each portfolio across the Victorian public sector within 5 years.
- Double the number of men taking available paid parental leave in the Victorian public sector within 5 years in order to work towards rebalancing the gendered uptake of caring entitlements.
Supports Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 4
- Develop a refreshed gender equality outcomes framework to measure impact and progress towards gender equality.
- Establish an advisory group to support the implementation of Our equal state.
- Ensure the Victorian Government’s response to the Final Report into the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide applies a gender lens.
- Develop actions to address the gendered impacts of disasters, as well as disaster preparedness, response and recovery.
- Explore ways to improve gender equality outcomes in the community and not-for-profit sectors through funding guidelines for Victorian Government grant funding and service agreements.
- Explore ways to improve the collection, quality and use of gender-disaggregated and intersectional data across the Victorian public sector. Data captured should include experiences of discrimination and caring responsibilities, as per recommendation 29b of the Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women. It should also include supporting defined entities under the Gender Equality Act 2020 to report on gender pay gaps for women from diverse backgrounds and social groups.
Responds to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendations 16, 23 and 29
- Explore opportunities to strengthen gender equitable policies for Victorian Government engagement with professional services organisations.
Responds to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 22
- Explore embedding gender design principles in public space development.
- Embed gender responsive budgeting in legislation to secure the practice across public sector entities.
Responds to Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women recommendation 15
- Continue to implement the recommendations of the PAEC inquiry into gender responsive budgeting, as agreed in the Victorian Government’s response.
- Provide training, education and resources to help defined entities conduct gender impact assessments. Where appropriate, this will be in line with training on gender responsive budgeting.
- Publish the annual Gender equality budget statement as part of the State Budget and continue enhancements to incorporate further information such as data and analysis of the impact of gender responsive budgeting.
- Contribute to the Council of Federal Financial Relation’s work in advocating for women’s economic opportunities at a multijurisdictional level for women’s economic participation, with an initial focus on gender responsive budgeting, gender responsive procurement and women’s workforce participation and gender wage gaps.
Explainer: Public sector workforce targets
This strategy will strengthen gender equality in Victoria’s public sector workforce, driving important changes across the state. These actions apply at the state level, not at the public sector organisation level. While they are not legislated, we will track our progress as part of reporting for this strategy. Future targets and quotas prescribed by regulations under the Gender Equality Act 2020 are separate from this strategy. They will factor in further data and research, as well as stakeholder consultation.