Victoria Invests In The Economic Power Of Women

The Andrews Labor Government is working to improve the economic status of Victorian women by funding new microenterprise and financial capability programs.

Minister for Women Natalie Hutchins today announced funding of $2.2 million to the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Women’s Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE) to deliver programs that will empower women financially.

While the gender pay gap is trending down, women in Victoria are still paid less than men. They retire with less, resulting in financial insecurity, poor health and wellbeing for older women.

At the same time, more women are becoming entrepreneurs than ever before. Almost a third of women who run businesses in Australia are born overseas, and just under a third live in regional areas.

Supporting women to run their own businesses is one way to increase their participation in paid work, and improve their financial security.

This is why the Labor Government is investing $1.2 million in a three year microenterprise program being delivered by the Brotherhood of St Laurence. The program will provide women with access to start-up capital, business training and mentoring.

It will specifically target women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, older women, and women in rural and regional areas of Victoria.

The Government is also supporting WIRE with funding of $1 million over three years to run a capacity building program with Aboriginal women, women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and women with disabilities.

The program will focus on improving women’s independence and confidence as financial decision-makers. It will build their financial management skills, while also increasing their awareness of structural barriers to financial capability and their economic rights.

Both programs are actions under Victoria’s gender equality strategy, Safe and Strong.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Women Natalie Hutchins

“The Andrews Labor Government is empowering women to start their own business, get better paid work, or pursue further education and training.”

 “While we’re working to confront the structural barriers to women’s economic equality, this funding is about giving women tools and confidence to take control of their financial situation.”