26 September 2023

State Government backs women’s equity

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The State Government has supported, or backed in principle, 28 of 31 recommendations to deliver economic equity for Victorian women by driving systemic, cultural and institutional change.

Releasing the State’s response to the January Inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women, Minister for Women, Natalie Hutchins said the response included funding for strategies to support, upskill and mentor women in the energy and manufacturing sectors, “while removing barriers in these historically male-dominated workforces”.

“The Inquiry found what too many Victorian women already know,” Ms Hutchins said.

“Women are paid less, take on more unpaid caring responsibilities, are limited by harmful gender norms and stereotypes, and face higher rates of gendered violence – barriers that make too many women less able to fulfil their potential as leaders in the workforce.”

She said three of the Inquiry’s recommendations were still under consideration.

These include the acceptance and funding of all recommendations made by the Ministerial Taskforce on Workplace Sexual Harassment and treating workplace gendered violence as an occupational health and safety issue; ensuring women have equitable access to work related advice and support; and extending the Gender Equality Act 2020 to non-government entities on a voluntary basis.

Of the Inquiry recommendations accepted, Ms Hutchins said they included ways to re-balance the load of unpaid work and care through parental leave policies; partnering with the private sector to increase representation of women in non-traditional sectors; and developing plans to revalue the work of the care and community sector.

“Government has already implemented many of the recommendations, like the nation-leading Best Start, Best Life initiative – a $9 billion plan to reform early childhood education which will get up to 13,300 extra women back into the workforce over the next decade while boosting the State’s economy by up to $4.8 billion each year by 2032,” Ms Hutchins said.

The 196-page Inquiry Report can be accessed at this PS News link and the State’s 27-page response at this link.

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