Historic Laws To Put Gender Equality At The Front And Centre

Workplaces will be held to account in making sure women are being afforded the opportunities they deserve, thanks to landmark laws being introduced by the Andrews Labor Government.

The Australian-first Gender Equality Bill will be introduced into the Victorian Parliament today, delivering on a key election commitment and making once-in-a-generation reforms to ensure gender equality is non-negotiable.

The Gender Equality Bill will mean public service organisations, universities and local councils will be required by law to publicly report on their progress against key indicators such as equal pay, sexual harassment and career progression practices.

They will also be required to challenge workplace discrimination, by preparing and implementing Gender Equality Action Plans and undertaking gender impact assessments.

The case for action is clear:

  • One in two mothers reported experiencing workplace discrimination as a result of their pregnancy, parental leave or on return to work
  • Three in 10 employers still do not have a flexible working policy
  • In 2015/16, the average superannuation balances for women aged 60-64 years were 58 per cent lower than those of men the same age, or on average $113,660 less
  • Australia’s gender pay gap is 14.1 per cent
  • Victorian women are doing 63 per cent of the state’s unpaid work.

The new gender equality laws will apply to workplaces in the public service, universities, local governments and organisations such as Court Services Victoria and the Office of the Public Prosecutions.

More than 300 organisations and about 11 per cent of the Victorian workforce will be covered by the legislation.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams

“We’re making history and making gender equality a non-negotiable by law – because it’s 2019 and women and girls deserve every opportunity to succeed.”

“These changes will mean many Victorian workforces will be required to put gender equality front and centre where it belongs.”

“We know we won’t reach gender equality overnight, but this is an important step in the cultural change we’re working hard to drive.”