Last month I announced that the ACT Budget will continue investing in the ACT Women’s Plan, which will see stronger promotion of gender equality throughout the ACT. The $696,000 committed to implement actions under the ACT Women’s Plan and to promote gender equality more broadly shows the Government’s ongoing commitment and leadership in advancing the status of women at work and in our community.
This additional funding to be provided to the Office for Women, will support delivery of a suite of initiatives designed to drive outcomes in gender equality including:
Community engagement to promote gender equality in the ACT;
- Improving the evidence base related to the gender equality;
- Training to reduce and eliminate unconscious bias across government;
- Promoting diversity on boards through the diversity register; and
- Delivering a board traineeship program for women
The Office for Women works with all government directorates to drive and deliver the commitments identified under the ACT Women’s Plan. The ACT Women’s Plan is a crucial step in addressing the under-representation of women in leadership positions, and in industries that are traditionally male-dominated.
This additional investment will provide additional tools to better address gender inequality across our whole community, including corporate businesses and community not-for-profit organisations. It will also give women in the community direct access to policy makers.
Part of this investment will support the ACT Diversity Register, of which I’ve been a proud champion. The Diversity Register will connect women from a range of backgrounds with available board positions, as well as training and networking opportunities.
I believe that boards are a key area to increase women’s representation, so I’m excited that this funding will also deliver a board traineeship program, particularly focused on industries where female representation is low and on sporting associations who are required to meet the target of 40 per cent female representation by 2020.
Training packages, strategies and tools will be developed to provide useful information for the whole community on how unconscious bias can be addressed, and how to create a more respectful environment.
I’ve worked to ensure the Canberra community leads the nation on equality and inclusiveness for women and other communities who face barriers to full inclusion. This new support to deliver the priority initiatives under the ACT Women’s Plan will mean we can continue making progress towards the full and equal participation of women in all aspects of our community.
Further achievements already made under the Women’s Plan include a report into current and emerging mental health issues for women and girls in the ACT. A Gender Equity Advisory Group has been convened to research the extent to which gender perception in schools impacts on female students’ wellbeing. This research will inform policy approaches for the year two actions under the Women’s Plan that address gender equity in schools. The first piece of work under this commitment is the development of a factsheet promoting uniform choice and policies that don’t specify uniforms by gender.
The Women in Trades Grants Program has been established to boost opportunities for women and girls in male-dominated trades, through $500,000 worth of grants. The Office for Women has also promoted the use of Women’s Safety Audits at all Government events, including Floriade, Enlighten and the National Multicultural Festival.
The inaugural Housing and Homelessness Summit discussed specific issues faced by women, and ACT Health is working to better understand cultural impacts on the health of women in culturally and linguistically diverse communities. CIT has been encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to enrol in training, as well as providing Adjunct Child Care on campus, access to the Women’s Legal Centre, and counselling through Relationships Australia and CIT Counsellors.
As Minister for Women it’s been rewarding to see all these issues progressed in the ACT, and the incredible work of the Office for Women in delivering policies and programs for gender equity.