Respect Victoria welcomes Gender Equality Bill
RESPECT Victoria has welcomed the passing of the Gender Equality Bill by the state government.
The legislation applies to public sector workplaces and aims to help close the gender pay gap, improve gender equality at all levels of the workforce and reduce workplace sexual harassment.
Respect Victoria chair Melanie Eagle said the bill was “a once in a generation opportunity to improve gender equality in Victorian workplaces.”
“Gender inequality a key driver of violence against women and family violence. There is a strong and consistent association between gender inequality and levels of violence against women. A 2015 study in The Lancet found factors relating to gender inequality predict the prevalence of intimate partner violence across 44 countries.
“When it comes into effect on March 31, 2021, the Gender Equality Act (2020) will underpin improved workplace gender equality across the Victorian public sector, universities and local councils, providing both social and economic benefits to Victoria through the positive effects gender equality provides society.
“The Act will require over 300 organisations to develop and implement Gender Equality Action Plans and report on progress towards achieving workplace gender equality.”
The independent statutory authority’s chief executive officer, Tracey Gaudry said the bill’s passage was a significant step towards challenging the harmful norms, practices and structures that led to violence, including gender inequality, marginalisation and discrimination.
“Government, industry, organisations and communities all have a role to play, and this Bill demonstrates the Victorian Government’s commitment to eliminating gender inequality through its own action in public sector workplaces. Respect Victoria looks forward to implementing the practices within our own organisation.
“Respect Victoria stands with the Victorian Government in working to create a Victoria free from violence.”
Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams said the bill was a key mechanism in improving the lives of women and all Victorians and would ensure employers of almost 380,000 Victorians in the public sector, councils and universities took real action to progress gender equality.