Australian state enacts “first of its kind” gender equality law

The Victoria State Government has enforced Australia’s first gender equality law. It requires public sector employers to “promote and advance” gender equality in the workplace.

legislation(pdf) Will come into effect on March 31, and the public sector, including local governments and universities, will “close the gender pay gap, improve gender equality at all levels of the workforce and eliminate workplace sexual harassment,” said the Victorian Women’s Minister. Says. Gabriel Williams said in a statement (pdf).

“”[T]His law helps ensure that all genders enjoy equal rights, opportunities, responsibilities and consequences, “says Williams.

In addition, public sector organizations need to undergo gender impact assessments, workplace gender audits, and develop and publish a Gender Equality Action Plan.

Workplace “gender inequality” must be identified as of June 30 and an action plan must be submitted to the public sector gender equality committee by October 31 of each reporting year. The reporting year circulates every four years from 2021.

The employer must also submit a progress report every other year by October 31st after submitting the action plan.

In addition, progress reports should show progress for organizations to achieve their workplace gender equality goals and quotas. More than 380,000 Victorians are employed by 300 public sector employees.

Niki Vincent, a gender equality committee member in the public sector, said she would work with employers to ensure equality.

“One of the strengths of this law is to take a crossing approach to achieving gender equality,” Vincent said. Age..

“It not only encourages workplaces and employers to look at all genders, but whether race, disability, or many other factors we know can exacerbate disadvantages. Instead, consider specifically where other factors can exacerbate this disadvantage.

“This law will bring widespread benefits not only to public sector workers, who make up 11% of the Victorian workforce, but also to the people they serve.”

Vincent denied the claim, depending on whether the bill had the benefit of “shorting”, instead saying the bill would “short out unconscious prejudice.”

“The idea that a target or quota somehow shorts the benefits [is false], “She said.

The state government has invested more than $ 13 million to implement gender equality law. However, this may not be enough, the Victoria City Association (MAV) argues.

In a 2020 opinion piece, MAV Vice President Ruth Gstrein said that if the state government wants to implement ACT effectively and meaningfully across local councils and other organizations, this amount is just one drop. Insisted that there was.

“Because the key to its success is proper financing and resources for the public sector, it has the ability to enact their obligations under the law,” Gustein said.

“It is especially important that small councils get help so that people in rural areas and communities do not suffer any disadvantages. Opportunities for a more equal future just where they live. Don’t miss it. “