A woman on the phone

The Victorian Government has a target of having at least 50 per cent women councillors and mayors in local government by 2025. It is encouraging women of all backgrounds to step forward, step up and take the opportunity to develop their leadership potential.

Gender equality is at the heart of a fair and inclusive society. Women were elected to local council in record numbers in 2020 and now form 43.8 per cent of councillors in Victoria. Yet, in 30 of Victoria’s 79 councils, less than one third of candidates or elected councillors were women in the 2020 elections.

Work is required to tap into the potential of women to lead, to ensure their voices are heard and to contribute equally for the benefit of our communities.

To show its commitment to the 50 per cent target, the Victorian Government announced funding for a leadership program for women in local government in the 2021 State Budget. The Local Government Gender Equality Advisory Committee has helped to inform the design and delivery of the program.A women sitting at a table reading a newspaper

Women Leading Locally will be delivered by the Institute of Community Directors Australia (ICDA). 120 places will be offered to women in this new community leadership program to give participants the inspiration, knowledge and skills to succeed in local leadership roles, with a focus on campaigning as a candidate for the 2024 local government elections.

There are 60 places available for the program’s first intake in 2022. The selection criteria aim to recruit women who reflect the diversity of local communities in the 30 council areas where women were most under-represented after the October 2020 local government elections, including urban, regional and rural locations across Victoria. The Victorian Government welcomes applications from women of all ages and backgrounds. Young women, women who are Aboriginal, live with a disability, are from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds or identify as LGBTQI+ are especially encouraged to apply.

Priority will be given to women who aspire to stand for local council election in 2024.

A woman looking at a phone in front of a herd of cattle

The program is designed to develop leadership skills. It will also provide participants with ongoing connections and mentoring, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to run a successful local government campaign. Program participants will also be eligible to receive a formal Certificate in Community Leadership and Governance (Local Government).

Applications for Year One open on 12 May 2022.

Step forward and step up. Take the opportunity.

Find out more and apply here.

If you would like more information about the Program, please contact Local Government Victoria at wilgvic@ecodev.vic.gov.au.