Gender Equality Act 2020

Victoria’s Gender Equality Act 2020 (the Act) came into play on 31 March 2021.

The Act follows the findings of the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence, and the weight of evidence that shows reducing gender inequality, also reduces all forms of violence against women. It was developed through extensive community consultations

The Act requires organisations like local governments, universities, and hospitals to take action on gender inequality in three main ways.

  1. Undertake regular audits of gender equality in their organisation. This includes pay equity, composition balance in different teams, and at different levels of the organisation, as well as access to flexible work and various leave provisions, and experiences of harassment.
  2. Develop an action plan to improve gender equality at the organisation, based on the findings of the audit. Organisations must submit the plan and then report on it every two years.
  3. Conduct gender impact analysis of key strategies, programs or services that significantly impact the community. This means taking time to think about how these might impact different people in different ways, and make changes that ensure they don’t unintentionally reinforce inequality.

The Act also recognises that factors besides gender impact people’s ability to participate equally. It requires organisations to use what is called an ‘intersectional’ lens wherever possible. For example, consider if Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women are impacted differently to other women in the community.

A new Public Sector Gender Equality Commission has been created to support and monitor compliance with the Act. The Commission and the Act recognise that organisations will have different capacities to undertake the work. Some organisations have the human and financial resources to do much more than others, but everyone has to be working towards greater equality in their organisations.

For more information about the Act, click here.