Breaking New Ground for Gender Equality in Victoria

MELBOURNE, Sep 10 The Victorian Government has taken a critical step toward gender equality with the appointment of the state’s first Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner.

Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams today announced Niki Vincent to the position, which will provide independent oversight of Victoria’s Gender Equality Act 2020 and play a key leadership role in promoting gender equality across the Victorian community and workplaces.

The Act – the first of its kind in Australia – aims to improve outcomes for women working in higher education, local government and the public sector, including nurses, teachers and emergency service workers, by breaking down discrimination and gender barriers.

It requires over 300 Victorian organisations to show meaningful progress on gender equality, such as reducing the gender pay gap and rates of sexual harassment – and also subjects any policy, program or service that seeks funding in Victorian budgets to gendered analysis.

While progress has been made to improve gender inequality across the public sector, with women now holding 54 per cent of executive roles and the gender pay gap narrowing, there is still work to be done.

Dr Vincent – who starts as the Commissioner next month – brings a wealth of experience in gender equality and organisational leadership, having most recently served as Commissioner for Equal Opportunity in South Australia and as a former CEO of the Leaders Institute of South Australia.

In that role, she led a major independent review into sex discrimination, sexual harassment and predatory behaviour in the South Australian Police Force. Dr Vincent also conducted a three-year program across all government agencies to promote workplace gender equality and prevent violence against women.

The Gender Equality Act was enacted in February 2020 and will cover 11 per cent of the Victorian workforce.