Addressing gender inequality
Gender inequality remains an issue across most settings in our community.
It is known that gender inequality and gender norms have adverse impacts on all Victorians. They limit people’s choices and the roles they undertake at home and at work, creating restrictive expectations, and reinforcing barriers to accessing services. This has broader social and economic impacts for all Victorians.
The structural disadvantages experienced by women have been further compounded by the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, the gender pay gap widened for the first time in seven years to 14.2 per cent nationally (Workplace Gender Equality Agency, 2021).18 Women lost more jobs and hours of work than men given their over-representation in the casual workforce and shouldered more of the burden of unpaid care than men.
The Victorian Government is driving the changes our state needs to improve gender equality. By leveraging government purchasing power through the Social Procurement Framework, we are supporting the private sector to make progress on gender equality.
Through this work, we have seen industry adopt gender equality policies in the workplace and improve flexible leave arrangements. This important reform means gender equality is embedded across a number of Victorian Government State Purchase Contracts, supporting industry to consider these initiatives as business as usual.
The Victorian Government is leading this work to create a safer, more equitable Victoria.
From 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021, the following Social Procurement Framework commitments were included within 119 contracts with suppliers reported to the Victorian Management Centre19, of which:
- 35 contained commitments for the engagement of suppliers with gender equality policies
- 26 contained commitments for the provision by suppliers of family violence leave policies
(Note: As the Victorian Management Centre was fully implemented in 2021, some contracts are still in delivery, and will not have outcomes to report for the period. The achievements detailed may include achievements recorded against specific commitments as well as achievements outside of commitments.)
Case study - VMIA supplier puts gender equality principles into practice
The Victorian Government’s insurer and risk adviser, Victorian Managed Insurance (VMIA), extended its commitment to social procurement by requiring all providers to demonstrate how they meet the objectives in their own processes and supply chains.
One of VMIA’s suppliers, Lander & Rogers, has taken these requirements to heart, launching a diversity and inclusion policy to drive gender equity across its business, including in leadership, flexibility, talent and pay equity.
In particular, Lander & Rogers’ expertise in family law and litigation provides its people with greater awareness of, and insights into, family violence, and the firm works to support victim survivors and create cultural change in attitudes to women.
To support its staff internally, they provide domestic and family violence leave and support, mental health first aid officers and a range of professional supports and mental wellness initiatives
In addition, through their pro bono legal work, Lander & Rogers partner with community legal centres to assist culturally and linguistically diverse women, women experiencing financial disadvantage, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island women and older women with matters involving family violence.
One such example is the engagement with Women's Legal Service Victoria. This work became a vital focal point for lawyers working from home, allowing them to collaborate to assist vulnerable women during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in 2020.
Case study - Mentoring for women in transport
The Women in mentoring program is a six-month, industry-wide initiative run twice a year by the Level Crossing Removal on behalf of the Department of Transport.
It provides professional development and networking opportunities for women mentees, with the aim of encouraging more women to enter and stay in the transport industry.
The aim is to give women a fresh avenue for development as they progress in their career, and to foster relationships that can help them identify and realise their professional goals.
In 2020, the program saw 535 people matched to form 261 pairs of mentors and mentees (with some mentors taking up to two or three mentees). Mentees and mentors attend three professional development sessions staggered across the six-months.
Participants were very satisfied with the quality of their mentoring relationship, with an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 in round one, and 4.3 out of 5 in round two.
It’s been great having Sarah as a mentor, especially since she’s in the same sector of the industry but in a different discipline. She’s added great insights and improved my network.
Reviewed 05 October 2022