Gender equity

Yarra Ranges Council strives to create a workplace where opportunity is equal for women, men and gender non-binary people. We are dedicated to changing the behaviours and attitudes that contribute to violence against women.

To achieve this, we are building a workplace and culture where employees support, promote and improve gender equity with the wider goal of preventing violence against women and their children in the Yarra Ranges community.

Violence against women is a pervasive and serious issue in our community. Its causes lie in the lack of equality in relationships between men and women in our society and in gender stereotypes.

Council’s Gender Equity Action Plan is informed by evidence and the work of VicHealth, Our Watch and Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS).

Yarra Ranges, Knox and Maroondah Councils produced three See past the stereotype videos called to challenge entrenched gender stereotypes.

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

Make the Link poster

Gender inequality creates a society that allows 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, it can be difficult to understand that sexist comments, sexist jokes, following rigid gender roles and buying into rigid stereotypes (bottom of iceberg) contribute to this abuse.

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 and abuse.[1]

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 and play.

Yarra Ranges Council is committed to challenging expressions of gender inequality, including:

  • Condoning of violence against women.
  • Men’s control of decision making and limiting women’s independence in public and private life.
  • Rigid stereotypes and gender roles associated with men and women.
  • Male peer relationships that empathise aggression and disrespect towards women.[2]

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 2018, there were 1,607 (1,194 F and 413 M) reported incidents of family violence in the Yarra Ranges – the second highest reported rates among the seven Eastern Metropolitan Councils.

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

1. EDVOS

 

The Royal Commission into Family Violence and Safe and Strong: A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy identified local government as a key partner for efforts to achieve gender equality and prevent violence against women.

Our role has since been legislated with the Gender Equality Act passing in February 2020. This will require all Victorian Councils to promote gender equality in the workplace and community.

 

Key workplace initiatives

Gender Equity Action Plan

Yarra Ranges Gender Equity Action Plan 2017-2019, informed by an organisational Gender Self-Assessment conducted in 2016, is currently being reviewed and updated.

Gender Equity and Bystander Training

YRC staff complete Gender Equity and Bystander Training as part of Corporate Induction. Our team of Gender Equity Advocates – staff from work areas across Council – are trained to deliver this training to their peers.

Family Violence Support

YRC employees are encouraged to access support for family violence. Key staff in our People and Culture department are available to provide support, and leaders at YRC have participated in Responding to Disclosures of Family Violence Training facilitated by EDVOS.

Gender Equity and Inclusion Project

The Gender Equity and Inclusion Project, funded by State Government through the Free from Violence Local Government Grants Program, supported teams to develop skills and confidence to adapt their work to be gender equitable and inclusive. In 2019 the following work areas participated in the pilot:

  • Executive Leadership Team
  • Corporate Planning and Communications
  • Human Resources
  • Procurement
  • Environment and Infrastructure Leadership Team
  • Recreation and Active Living – Sport
  • Traffic and Transport
  • Creative Communities – Cultural Facilities
  • Emergency Management
  • Maternal and Child Health

Gender Equality Bill Implementation Pilot

Yarra Ranges Council, along with nine other councils, has been funded by State Government to complete a project in preparation for reporting under the Gender Equality Act 2020.

In 2020, the following work areas have been involved in this pilot:

  • Youth Development
  • Recreation and Active Living
  • People and Culture

Key community initiatives

Partnerships

YRC works on a range of projects in partnership with other service providers, organisations and Councils working to promote gender equality. Key partnerships include:

  • Gender Equity in the Early Years Partnership
  • Yarra Ranges Gender Equity Partnership
  • Together for Equality and Respect Partnership

Local Settings

YRC is committed to promoting gender equality and preventing violence against women across a range of local settings. Key projects are currently running in the following settings:

  • Early years services
  • Schools
  • Sporting Clubs
  • Therapy in nature

Margins to the Mainstream – Preventing Violence Against Women with Disabilities

In 2020, YRC has received a grant from the Department of Social Services for a project on prevention of violence against women with disabilities. The project, which as reach across the Eastern Metropolitan Region, will be led by Women’s Health East in partnership with Women with Disabilities Victoria, Yarra Ranges Council, Boroondara City Council, Access Health and Community, Inspiro, EACH, EDVOS and evaluation consultant Wei Leng Kwok. 

Mentoring for Women

YRC is partnering with Eastern Health, Voices of Women and CIRE Services to deliver the Taking it Step by Step Mentoring Project in 2020. This mentoring program recruit mentors and mentees from across the Yarra Ranges.

Previous initiatives

Modelling Respect and Equality (MoRE) Program

This program run by The Men’s Project, an initiative from Jesuit Social Services, 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. 

See past the stereotype

Short films developed by Knox, Maroondah and Yarra Ranges Councils to raise awareness about gender stereotyping. Watch the video series here