HSV Submissions – March 2016
Gender Equality Strategy for Victoria
Submitted dd March 2016 to Women and Royal Commission Branch, Department of Premier and Cabinet
HSV commended the Victorian government for its initiative in developing a Gender Equality Strategy for Victoria.
In our submission we addressed only some of the questions in the Consultation Paper. We said that the government needs to:
- promote and publicize the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 – §18, which states that an employer must not discriminate against any employee, as a measure to decrease practices that disadvantage women in the workforce;
- legislate to abolish pay secrecy in order to ensure ‘equal pay for equal work’, to give greater transparency whereby employees have control over their own pay information and have the right to share pay information with other employees;
- promote work-at-home for all employees, and encourage an equal parenting culture, as a means of shifting the long-established bias of women being expected to shoulder the larger proportion of child rearing; employers should be encouraged to grant as much family time to men as they are already willing to do for their women employees;
- support the provision of childcare in workplaces and in low-paid situations either directly or through subsidies;
- to ensure that in all levels of education gender stereotypes are questioned and challenged, and to provide structured interactions where female leaders can provide guidance to other women and girls;
- to provide adequate legal aid for women disadvantaged by divorce, separation and domestic violence or criminal assault in the family.
We also suggested the following:
- The production and dissemination of a leaflet giving the differences between the genders, as set out in the Consultation Paper, along with a summary of actions the government has or will enact to reduce gender differences.
- Regularly reviewing progress on closing the gap on gender differences.
- Encouraging the media to report on businesses, communities, families where equal sharing and mentoring programs have successfully made a difference on previous gender inequalities.
The Victorian Government requested ideas on how to achieve gender equality in Victoria. Gender inequality affects women in all areas of their lives:
- The Victorian workforce participation rate for women is 58.8%, compared to 71.4% for men.
- A national survey found that one in three women over 15 has experienced physical violence and 1 in 5 has experienced sexual violence.
- Women in full-time work earn around $15,000 less than men each year.
- Women retire with just over half the superannuation savings of men.