Women’s equality and safety

We know that women in Victoria still face significant barriers in the workforce

Message from the Minister

Image of the Victoria Minister for Government Services, Gabrielle Williams MP

Gabrielle Williams MP, Minister for Women and Minister for Prevention of Family Violence

We know that women in Victoria still face significant barriers in the workforce.

On average, women in full time work earn 9.2 per cent less9 than their male counterparts. Although the gender pay gap in Victoria is closing10, this is still unacceptable. As a result, women retire with around 38.8 per cent11 less superannuation than men and are more likely to experience poverty.

We know that gendered discrimination is the primary contributor to this disparity. Gender inequality limits the potential of women and the Victorian economy. We need to address the barriers that prevent the full participation of women in our economy and our community.

We also know that gender equality is an essential precondition for the prevention of family violence and violence against women. The majority of victims of family violence are women – it is the leading contributor to death, disability and illness for women aged 15 to 44.

The Government values working with businesses which support victim-survivors of family violence, their connection to work and the community. The Government is committed to ending family violence in Victoria and promoting gender equality across our state, including in the workforce. The Social Procurement Framework is an important lever for change – using government's buying power to reduce barriers and improve outcomes for Victorian women. This landmark policy platform is helping to create a safer and more equitable Victoria.

9 https://www.wgea.gov.au/ data/fact-sheets/ australiasgender-pay-gap-statistics

10 ibid.

11 Figures for 2015–17, https:// www.wgea.gov.au/data/ fact-sheets/superannuationgender-pay-gaps-by-agegroup

Case study: meet the engineer

A passion for problem solving and an inquisitive nature have served Stefania Calati well in her role overseeing the construction of Cobblebank’s new train station.

The Senior Project Engineer enjoyed maths and science at school, and was looking for a career with good prospects, which led her down the path of engineering.

‘We didn’t have a TV until I was 10. Looking at things and how they work and having to find activities outside of TV was quite integral to how I developed an interest in this field.’

After a stint working in China, she returned to Australia and started on the Ballarat Line Upgrade last year. She says having a mix of women and men working on a major project creates a great synergy.

‘Women have a different approach to problem solving, and that’s what we do on a daily basis – problem solve,’ she says.

‘In an environment like this, which is male-dominated, I think women provide a different way of thinking and a different dynamic.’ Stefania is looking forward to the station being completed by the end of the year.

‘To have it starting from a green field with one track in the middle of a paddock, and then to build a brand new station … it’s pretty satisfying.’

Key achievements

  • Victoria’s major road and rail projects are providing opportunities for women in traditionally male dominated industries such as construction, through programs including Women in Construction.
  • Currently, 42 women are employed as part of the Alliance delivery team on the Ballarat Line Upgrade in roles including engineering, sustainability, quality control, procurement and project management.
  • This constitutes approximately 20% of the Alliance delivery team of 220 employees.
  • For rail industry skills programs in 2018-19, 31 women completed the GROW and TRANSIT programs.
  • Female participation in the GEN44 training program rose to 49 per cent in 2018-19, with 50 women completing the program.
  • Beyond its direct spend with social benefit suppliers, the Victorian Government is striving to make positive changes through engaging suppliers on state purchase contracts. This year, the Department of Treasury and Finance and the Department of Premier and Cabinet secured commitment from the majority of their state purchase contract suppliers to provide family violence leave for their employees. The Department of Justice and Community Safety and CenITex will be supporting this initiative for their state purchase contract suppliers in the future.

A lack of economic security for women is leading to rising rates of homelessness and insecure housing.

Helping to bring some security, the Department of Justice and Community Safety procured mail-out services through The Big Issue's Women's Subscription Enterprise.

This activity alone created job opportunities for 29 women who worked shifts totalling over 144 hours.

Case study: change our game

The Office for Women in Sport and Recreation engaged Swinburne University of Technology to evaluate the Change Our Game suite of initiatives aimed at increasing participation and leadership of women and girls in sport and active recreation.

In line with the remit of the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation to create opportunities for women in all types of roles across the sector, the University must ensure at least 50 per cent of the project delivery team are women over the life of the project.