Gender equity

Yarra Ranges Council is committed to promoting gender equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace and community.

We recognise that gender equality is a human right and has significant social, economic and health benefits, including the prevention of family violence and all forms of violence against women and girls.

Local government has an important role to play in influencing change through the delivery of our programs and services, setting behavioural and cultural standards, and working to change systems and structures that contribute to inequality.

Yarra Ranges Council has a long history of promoting and embedding gender equity in the workplace and community. Our role has recently been legislated with the introduction of the Gender Equality Act 2020. Learn more about the Act under ‘Workplace Projects’. 

Violence against anyone is unacceptable and looking at underlying causes of violence is important.

Make the Link poster

Evidence shows that key predictors of family violence and all forms of violence against women relate to how individuals, communities, and society as a whole view the roles of men, women, and gender diverse people. Some of the strongest predictors for holding attitudes that support violence at the individual level, are following traditional gender stereotypes and low levels of support for gender equality.

Gender inequality creates a society that allows disrespect, discrimination, and violence against women to occur. While violence against women in the form of murder, rape, sexual assault, or physical assault (top of the iceberg) is widely unaccepted, sexist comments and jokes and following rigid gender roles (bottom of iceberg) contribute to a society that allow disrespect to occur. If behaviours at the bottom of the iceberg are excused, we become part of the broader problem that can, in some instances, escalate to more severe forms of disrespect, discrimination, and abuse.1

Preventing violence before it starts

Violence against women is serious and widespread, but it is preventable.

We all have a role to play in preventing violence against women by examining our attitudes and behaviours, challenging unacceptable behaviour when we see or hear it, and treating each other with respect wherever we live, work, learn and play.

Yarra Ranges Council is committed to challenging the gendered factors which most consistently predict violence occurring in society, including:

  • Condoning of violence against women
  • Men’s control of decision making and limits to women’s independence in public and private life
  • Rigid gender stereotyping and dominant forms of masculinity
  • Male peer relations and cultures of masculinity that emphasise aggression, dominance and control.2

1 Gippsland Women’s Health https://makethelink.org.au/

2 Our Watch https://www.ourwatch.org.au/change-the-story/

Family violence is a set or pattern of behaviours in which someone seeks power and control over you, causing you to feel threatened, worthless, or fearful.1

In 2020, there were 1,753 (1,324 female and 429 male) reported incidents of family violence in the Yarra Range. 2

Visit our Family Violence page for more information about what family violence is, signs of family violence and where to go for support.

1.EDVOS

2. https://www.crimestatistics.vic.gov.au/

Yarra Ranges Council is creating a workplace where women, men, and gender diverse people from all backgrounds have equitable access to resources, power, and opportunities.

The workplace Gender Equity Program focuses on creating an organisational culture that understands and demonstrates gender equity in behaviours and day-to-day work; education, awareness raising and building organisational capacity; and meeting Council’s obligations under the Gender Equality Act 2020.

Under the Act, Yarra Ranges Council must:

  1. Promote gender equality
  2. Conduct gender impact assessments on policies, programs, and services
  3. Undertake a workplace gender audit
  4. Create a Gender Equality Action Plan
  5. Report on progress

View our Gender Equality Action Plan 2021-2025(PDF, 17MB)*

Current Projects

  • Gender Equality Action Plan 2021-2025(PDF, 17MB): Includes Council’s commitment to achieving gender equality in the workplace, key findings from the workplace gender audit, and strategies and measures to make progress against seven Workplace Gender Equality Indicators.
  • Gender Impact Assessments: Council is required to conduct gender impact assessments on policies, programs and services that have a direct and significant impact on the public to ensure they have positive outcomes for people of all genders. 
  • Gender Equity and Bystander Training: Employees complete Gender Equity and Bystander Training as part of Corporate Induction.
  • Gender Equity Advocates Program: Local change champions from work areas across Council who support implementation of initiatives in Council’s workplace Gender Equity Program.
  • Family Violence Support: Any employee experiencing family violence is encouraged to access support and can be connected to specialist family violence services. Leaders and key contacts in People and Culture participate in responding to disclosures of family violence training.

Previous Projects

  • Gender Equity and Inclusion Project: Council was funded by State Government to work with ten teams to develop the skills and confidence to adapt their work to be more gender equitable and inclusive.
  • Gender Equality Bill Implementation Pilot: Council was funded by State Government to pilot guidance materials in preparation for reporting under the Gender Equality Act 2020.

 

The Action Plan is currently undergoing compliance checking with the Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector to ensure it meets requirements under the Gender Equality Act 2020 and may be subject to change.

One of the seven goals of our Health and Wellbeing Plan 2021-2025 is to Prevent violence against women and children. Our goal is that Women and children in Yarra Ranges live free from abuse and violence through a culture of gender equity and respect.

Over the years we have worked in many settings within the Yarra Ranges community including schools, early childhood centres, and sports clubs to promote gender equity.

Council collaborates with community health, state government, community, and local domestic violence services through strategic partnerships to advance gender equality in our community. We also partner on and led initiatives that promote gender equality. A selection of these are included below:

Current Projects

  • E-Safety Social Media Self Defence: a free one-hour seminar to be delivered in June to help women and girls aged 16+ years use social media platforms safely and make informed choices about how they engage online. Tech tools will be provided for safely managing social media platforms, reporting online abuse and protecting their own wellbeing.
  • Men as Caregivers Poster Series: a series of posters showcasing men in caring roles, designed collaboratively by a group of local fathers/carers.
  • Creating a Place for Women in Sport: a practical tool to help clubs identify strengths and opportunities to promote gender equality. The tool assists clubs to recognise how they are going in relation to gender equality and to look at different areas of their environment, including leadership, club culture, membership and engagement, volunteers and employees and facilities.
  • Rest and Rejuvenate: a series of workshops for women coordinated by Voices of Women, that creates space for women, to reconnect, reflect, share their journeys, be physically active, and reconnect to nature in different regions of the Yarra Ranges.
  • Taking It Step By Step Mentoring Women Project: a peer mentorship program for local women in the Yarra Ranges to be a mentor or mentee and work toward goal/s.  

Previous Projects

  • Beyond Sparkles and Superheroes: a booklist for the Early Years, unconstrained by gender stereotypes.
  • Stories Beyond Stereotypes: a booklist for the Middle Years, unconstrained by gender stereotypes.
  • You Can’t Be What You Can’t See: a poster series for the Early Years that aims to promotes gender equity and breakdown gender stereotypes.
  • My Money: a series of free financial literacy webinars designed for women of every age and stage.
  • Modelling Respect and Equality (MoRE): This program run by The Men’s Project, aimed to increase skills, knowledge and confidence of male and female role models to promote respect and equality, particularly among boys and men. Learnings were taken away and applied to their work across the community on engaging boys and men.
  • Margins to Mainstream: This project was developed in recognition of the prevalence and seriousness of violence against women with disabilities and the importance of centring the expertise of women with lived experience of disabilities in primary prevention work.