September 15, 2018

Jury Of Victorians Debate Gender Equality Bill

A jury of more than one hundred Victorians is meeting this weekend in Melbourne to deliberate on Australia’s first ever legislation for gender equality.

The Andrews Labor Government has released an exposure draft of the Gender Equality Bill which proposes that Victorian Government departments, public sector entities like hospitals and TAFEs, and local governments plan, promote, set targets for and report on gender equality.

The Citizens’ Jury is being asked to consider a critical element of the Bill –the setting of quotas for women in public sector leadership positions. The Jury will recommend what gender equality quotas are fair, and how they can best be implemented.

While the Victorian public sector outperforms most industries, the gap in wages between women and men is still 12 per cent. The gender pay gap is influenced by a number of factors, including a lack of women in senior leadership positions.

Jurors have been randomly selected and briefed by independent experts.

The Jury will give their verdict on the use of gender equality quotas on Sunday, with the results informing Victoria’s first Gender Equality Bill. The Bill is expected to be introduced to Parliament early in 2019.

International evidence has demonstrated that when public bodies are compelled to promote gender equality by law, gender equality improves. The Gender Equality Bill will ensure the public sector role models gender equality.

You can have your say on the Gender Equality Bill – including the use of quotas – at engage.vic.gov.au/gender-equality

Quotes attributable to Minister for Women Natalie Hutchins

“If you’re not promoting gender equality, you’re reinforcing gender inequality.”

“All Victorians benefit from gender equality. That’s why it’s important Victorians have a voice on the changes the government can make to help achieve it. “