Anniversary

November 2020 marked 100 years since the election of Victoria’s first female councillor, Mary Rogers, to Richmond City Council.

In a fitting tribute, results from the 2020 Local Government elections came in the same week as the anniversary. Victoria elected 272 women – 43.8 per cent of councillors, the most in Australian history.

The Victorian Government’s Gender Equality Strategy, Safe and Strong, sets a target of 50/50 gender representation on councils by 2025.

Why gender equality? Why local government?

When you have diversity in decision-making bodies, you make better decisions. As the level of government closest to communities, it’s vital councils reflect all the people they serve.

But gender equality is not just about elected councillors. It’s also about local government staff.

Councils employ more than 45,000 Victorians. While more than half of that workforce is female, only one third of directors and managers are women, including 30 per cent of chief executives.

LGV support for gender equality – programmes and projects

Local Government Victoria helps to fund several programmes to promote and support gender equality in local government:

Key Documents – Guides, Strategies and Reports

Local Government and Gender Equality Acts

The new Gender Equality and Local Government Acts, passed into law earlier this year, put gender equality, diversity and inclusion as a key priority for councils and their staff.

The two Acts complement each other and introduce a wide range of different measures, including:

  • Councils must prepare workforce plans that measure gender equality, diversity and inclusiveness in their workforce
  • Councillors will have access to paid parental leave and reimbursement for care expenses
  • Action on sexual harassment and other forms of councillor misconduct
  • Gender equality audits across the local government sector

Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner

One of the most significant reforms of the Australian-first Gender Equality Act is the role of Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner.

The Commissioner will oversee implementation of the Gender Equality Act and play a key leadership role in promoting gender equality in the Victorian community and workplaces – including councils.

In September 2020, Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams announced the appointment of Dr Niki Vincent to the position.

For more on the work of the Commissioner, visit https://www.genderequalitycommission.vic.gov.au/the-public-sector-gender-equality-commissioner

Page last updated: 17/12/20