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Message from the Minister
Gabrielle Williams MP, Minister for Women
Despite the gains we have made, we are still missing out on the economic benefits that equal participation of women in the workforce brings to our economy and our community.
We know that gendered discrimination is still the primary contributor to workplace inequality. This limits the potential of women and the Victorian economy – we need to address the barriers that act as a disincentive for the full participation of women in workplaces across our state.
The Victorian Government is committed to using a variety of levers to drive change. The Social Procurement Framework is one of these levers, supporting improved gender equality within the Victorian Government supply chain by seeking to ensure women have the opportunity to contribute to the labour market and share an equal stake in our future.
As a result of these concerted efforts, we’ve seen the development of policies that promote gender equality in the workplace and leave arrangements for those encountering family violence.
The Victorian Government is making such considerations ‘business as usual’, introducing these requirements as a pre-requisite for eligibility across a number of state purchase contracts.
The Victorian Government is committed to a community that values the work of men and women equally. Government procurement processes are one way we can help to bring about this change.
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. In 2019-20:
- 20 women participated in the GROW program (representing 21% of participants)
- 518 women participated in the Women in Transport mentoring
- 7 women (representing 22% of cadets) are participating in the Engineering Pathways Industry , an initiative to transition refugee and asylum seeker engineers onto major transport projects
Since late 2017, 37 women have been employed as part of the alliance project delivery team on the Ballarat Line in roles including engineering, finance, safety, traffic management and construction.
- This constitutes approximately 28% of the project delivery team of 130 employees
For rail industry skills programs in 2019-20, 31 women completed the GROW and TRANSIT programs.
In 2019-20, 15 women were actively employed in the alliance delivery team, contributing 10,014 hours.
'We want to see people grow and succeed, and creating new entry pathways for people from diverse backgrounds provides jobs, which turn into careers.'
Contract Executive for Water
Programmed Facilities Management
Getting more women into non-traditional roles
Programmed Facilities Management (PFM) has a strategic partnership with City West (CWW) to provide maintenance services for the water network.
PFM is actively boosting the diversity of its workforce to foster a safe and inclusive environment, where people are treated equally and are free from discrimination.
Part of this commitment is a strong focus on gender equity.
In particular, PFM is focusing on recruiting and retaining women in skilled trade roles that are traditionally male dominated.
Together, PFM and CWW have also developed a cadet program for young women leaving school.
The program aims to build a workforce with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives – because solving problems is all about looking at things from different angles.
This work has resulted in the percentage of women employed on the CWW contract growing from 9% (all of whom were engaged in business support roles) at the end of 2016 to 19% (with 7% in field-based roles) in 2020.
More importantly, there is now a process in place to guarantee the ongoing recruitment of a diverse workforce for the water industry.
This work will reduce the gender pay gap, improve financial independence for women and create a better society for all Victorians.
Julian Kinder, Contract Executive for Water at Programmed Facilities Management, says:
'Our approach to diversity, inclusion and equality focuses on creating a workplace that represents the communities in which we work. We want to see people grow and succeed, and creating new entry pathways for people from diverse backgrounds provides jobs, which turn into careers.'
Providing opportunities for Aboriginal women through culture
Chisholm recently engaged Djirri Djirri to play a major role at the 2020 'Join the Dots’ annual celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
Through dance, language awareness and cultural workshops, Djirri Djirri connects young Aboriginal women to their culture and empowers them to share that culture with others.
Djirri Djirri was established in 2013 after founder Mandy Nicholson saw a need for a female dance group that would give cultural confidence to Wurundjeri women and girls, as well as other girls in out-of-home care.
Beginning with just eight girls, there are now around 15 dancers who are all proudly of the Wurundjeri bloodline. Djirri Djirri is the only active Traditional Custodian dance group of Narrm (Melbourne) and the only group that sings in Woiwurrung.
'I saw some of our young girls struggling by not having a cultural grounding. Dancing, coming together, celebrating and expressing our culture gave these girls confidence that resonates through their local communities.'
Mandy Nicholson, whose ancestry is Wurundjeri, Dja Dja wurrung and Ngurai illum wurrung.
Djirri Djirri dancers perform for smaller personal gatherings, community groups, large public events such as Rainbow Serpent Festival and large scale sporting events like AFL Dreamtime at the G and T20 World Cricket.
Central to Djirri Djirri activities is breaking down stereotypes relating to Australia’s Aboriginal peoples, forming connections with other cultures and providing information about the history and complexity of Aboriginal culture.
They make culture relevant to everyone by showing it is dynamic and alive.
For Mandy, the greatest reward is watching the girls grow up culturally grounded and strong, taking on their roles and responsibilities and standing proud of their unique culture. Mandy explains:
'I also love to connect with multicultural student groups, as they have a deep understanding of culture. They understand on a different level how discrimination can impact on lives. Often they don’t know much about First Australians, but they absorb everything that we tell them as they realise our journeys are so similar.'
Helping women succeed on and off the field
The Metropolitan Roads Program Alliance has partnered with Richmond Football Club’s Australian and Victorian Football Leagues for (AFLW and VFLW) programs to offer flexible work arrangements for the clubs' players to develop a career, while focussing on the requirements of being an elite sportswoman. Employed by alliance partner Fulton Hogan, the trainees work part time during the AFLW/VFLW season and full time during the off season.
Beyond providing the financial means for players to focus on their dreams of playing football at an elite level, the initiative enables the players to pursue a meaningful career outside of sport. This not only benefits the players, but also provides industry and the existing workforce with positive female role models. This helps to increase the numbers of women choosing to work in the industry.
Reviewed 10 December 2020