Gender equality in Victoria

Victoria was the first state to implement gender responsive budgeting, and it will be the first to embed it into legislation.

Child care worker playing with young girl

Building on world’s best practice

In 2022, we were proud to join other leading international jurisdictions that use gender responsive budgeting to deliver real-life benefits.

Gender responsive budgeting tools have been adopted by 61% of all Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, including five of the seven largest economies in the world: Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom.

As well as making governments’ expenditure more transparent and accountable, gender responsive budgeting also allows decision-makers to shape their policies and investments to improve gender equality.

In Austria, it enabled landmark tax reform to provide greater incentives for women to participate in the workforce.

In Mexico, it led to investment in programs for health conditions more likely to affect women and to increase women’s life expectancy.

In Victoria, we will continue to use gender responsive budgeting practices to ensure fairer outcomes for Victorian women and girls.

Gender responsive budgeting in action

Gender responsive budgeting seeks to understand the effects that policies, programs or services have on Victorians from all walks of life.

One of the ways we are doing this in the 2024/25 Budget is by continuing to fund Respectful Relationships.

This program helps students, teachers and carers understand how gendered norms affect people’s attitudes, and how this in turn influences their behaviour.

This is incredibly important for improving the safety and wellbeing of women and girls – and it benefits all Victorians.

When schools help students challenge gender stereotypes, they create a culture of gender equality – in and out of the classroom.

Putting gender responsive budgeting into law

We have published a Gender Equality Budget Statement every year since the 2017/18 Budget.

This year, we are introducing legislation to require that every budget in the future includes a statement about gender equality.

Victoria’s primary financial management legislation, the Financial Management Act 1994, will be amended to ensure that consideration of gender equality remains one of the key principles of sound financial management.

Our Government made history with the passage of the Gender Equality Act 2020. This was a landmark step in breaking down discrimination and gender barriers in the workplace. This new legislation will complement the Gender Equality Act 2020, allowing the Treasurer to request Gender Impact Assessments – and ensure gender equality is given the priority it deserves.

Both pieces of legislation are Australian firsts.

And both provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity to influence policy, culture, attitudes – and importantly, outcomes – for Victorian women and girls.

Better decision-making

OECD research shows thinking about gender impact early in policy design creates better gender outcomes.

It ensures that when we make decisions, we do everything we can to break down the structural barriers that hold women and girls back.

It also helps us gain better insights, deliver better outcomes and share resources more fairly to address inequalities.

To meaningfully address the different needs of Victorians, gender equality needs to be considered at every stage of the policy process.