Women's economic security

Women deserve the same opportunities for economic security. The Victorian Government is tackling this by addressing barriers to women’s workforce participation.

Woman scientist in a laboratory setting

We’ve made significant investments in supporting workers in the care and education sectors, providing training for women to build in-demand and future-proofed skills, fostering female leadership and easing the cost of living.

We strive to remove workforce barriers for women, while also improving education opportunities and increasing women’s representation - because you can't be what you can't see.

Building a better education and care sector for workers

We’re investing to create better workplaces for teachers, nurses and carers, to enable them to continue to deliver the high-quality services we rely on.

One in four Victorian workers is employed in the care economy or education sector. And women overwhelmingly make up these workforces – accounting for seven in every 10 workers in the education sector, and eight in every 10 workers in the healthcare system.

While these roles have historically been under-appreciated, the Victorian Government is determined to make sure women’s work is recognised and supported.

This Budget invests in strong workforces, training the teachers and healthcare workers of the future. This includes:

  • $755 million to continue improving our hospitals, with funding to operate expanded services.
  • $109 million to support paramedics and nurses, the majority of whom are women, by improving patient flow in emergency care and supporting paramedics on the road.
  • $18 million to expand the teaching workforce, including by supporting more flexible working for school leaders, enabling job-sharing arrangements and new part time leadership roles in schools. By giving school leaders more flexibility at more stages of their career, we’ll help more women remain in this important workforce.

And we are investing in the wellbeing of our education workforce, with $64 million to support the mental health and wellbeing of school staff through early response support and education programs. This will improve our teachers’ time at school – and it will increase retention and support for more women as they return to the workforce.

Providing more opportunities for women and girls

Celebrating women’s successes at work sets the benchmark for the next generation.

Celebrating women who excel in their field and encouraging greater representation of women in male-dominated spaces helps to break down barriers to equal opportunity.

Women are still under-represented in many industries and occupations in Victoria. Women are only 32% of both Victoria's architecture and engineering workforce and Victoria's chief executive officers and general managers .

Greater gender diversity in a workplace leads to less gender-based discrimination in that workplace, helping to reduce barriers for other women over time.

We’re helping to celebrate women in leadership and grow women’s representation across the Victorian economy, with:

  • $40 million of investment delivered by LaunchVic to support Victoria’s startup ecosystem and bolster women’s representation in the startup sector.
  • $1.8 million to deliver leadership and mentorship programs to support women, including women from diverse backgrounds, to gain leadership positions and advance their careers, paving the way for systemic and cultural change.

Ensuring women are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow can create pathways for women’s economic security.

Victoria is growing, which means demand for services is growing too.

To keep up with this demand, we need to invest in future workforces now to make sure we have the skills we need for tomorrow.

And we need to do that while understanding that the nature of work is changing. It’s no longer typical to spend your working life in one job, or one career.

Yet, some of the highest-paid jobs are fields still dominated by men. Information and communications technology managers earn nearly three times the average Victorian wage, and they are expected to be in demand in the future – however, women make up only 22% of these roles.

Closing this gap starts early by encouraging girls to build skills and consider careers in STEM. It’ll help us meet this demand, while also supporting women and girls into the higher paying jobs of the future.

That’s why this Budget invests in career education for secondary school students, including encouraging girls to consider careers in trades and STEM.

This Budget invests $14 million to support Tech Schools, including funding for regional Tech School camps. This program will help young Victorians – particularly girls – consider a spectrum of career pathways they might explore, unlimited by expectations linked to their gender.

We’re investing in tomorrow’s workforce today through:

  • $394 million to deliver Vocational Education and Training (VET) to Victorians looking to reskill or upskill. This allows more Victorians to access subsidised training, including Free TAFE which removes tuition fees for students and provides opportunities for women, including women returning to work.
  • $113 million to support our TAFEs, including wellbeing supports to assist students get the most of out their studies, including women returning to work.
  • $51 million for programs to improve the education and wellbeing outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, by engaging with Traditional Owner groups that strengthen their sense of identity, culture and belonging, and provide access to Education Partnerships led by different genders.
  • $38 million to improve students’ access to VET through their schools. This includes our new VET ‘taster’ program, which will provide access to a variety of short courses and the experience of studying in a TAFE, and a careers fair that will help girls and gender diverse students.
  • $32 million to deliver industry aligned and short-form training in priority skill areas.

Creating more opportunities for participation

Affordable, accessible and high-quality early childhood education and care are important to achieving equal economic participation for Victorian women.

While more men are staying home than ever before, it’s still predominately women who take on the role as primary carer.

Not being able to access affordable early education and childcare holds women back from reaching their full potential.

That is why Victoria is paving the pathway to a better future for families and women, with:

  • $129 million to continue to deliver the rollout of Three Year Old Kinder and support families with Free Kinder for three and four-year-olds - saving families up to $2,500 a year for each child. This takes our total investment in these reforms to $6.3 billion since 2019.
  • $15 million in Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) with grants to support small and regional schools to continue providing the vital OSHC programs that families rely on.

We’re also continuing the rollout of 50 government-owned and government-operated early learning and childcare centres across our state - helping even more women return to the workforce. We’ll deliver the first 30 of these centres by 2028, with an additional five opening every year until 2032.