Victoria’s first Gender Equality Act – hear from Commissioner Dr Niki Vincent

Victoria is set to commence the rollout of the Gender Equality Act 2020 (Vic) on 31 March. The legislation provides the Commissioner for Gender Equality in the Public Sector with powers to ensure positive action is taken in relation to gender equality.

“This is nation-leading legislation and will result in powerful change,” says Dr Niki Vincent, Victoria’s first Commissioner for Gender Equality in the Public Sector.

The Act puts in place a legal framework that aims to breakdown outdated stereotypes and systemic inequalities. It covers about 300 entities, including organisations in the public sector, universities and local councils. Under the Act, these organisations are required to implement processes which work to achieve gender equality and regularly report back to the Commission.

At our International Women’s Day event, Dr Vincent spoke to the different ways the Commission would work towards a fair and equal workplace for all.

“We’re talking about the human rights of more than 50% of the population. If it’s not fair for women and girls, fundamentally, it needs to be fixed.”

In her role, Dr Vincent will be responsible for ensuring the implementation of the Act and bringing about change that cannot be achieved organically by enforcing and supporting policies which aim to reduce, and eliminate, gender inequality.

One way that Monash Health has been taking positive action to achieve gender equality is by supporting the work of the Commission. As part of a pilot project, representatives from Monash Health trialled resources such as reporting tools on sexual harassment, reporting tools for conducting gender pay gap analysis and measuring intersectionality throughout our policies and procedures.

The Department for Women used our feedback to help inform the Gender Equality Bill which has three main components: Workplace Gender  Audit, Gender Equality Action Plan and Gender Impact Assessments.

These processes are a vital part of the work the Commission is doing to improve gender equality in the public sector. In particular, Gender Impact Assessments require an organisation to consider how new policies, programs and services, that have significant public impact, affect gender inequality.

To learn more about the work of the Commission and the Gender Equality Act, you can visit their website. If you missed the employee forum where Dr Vincent spoke, you can view it on the Monash Health COVID-19 website. Monash Health is committed to creating a fair and equal workplace for everyone, as set out in the Monash Health Equity & Inclusion Strategy.

 

Approved by Karen Lowe and Dr Anjali Dhulia



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