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Historic gender equality bill to mandate ‘gender quotas’ in the public sector

Described as a landmark legislation, the gender equality bill will be introduced to Parliament on Tuesday.

Over 380,000 Victorians will be subjected to strict gender targets that cover pay disparity, sexual harassment and women’s career progression.

Mandated gender quotas in the public sector – including universities, local councils, hospitals – will be required, wherever they have power, to introduce a system to assess and enforce gender equality.

Kristine Olaris, CEO of Women’s Health East and member of the State Government’s Ministerial Council on Women’s Equality told Neil Mitchell on 3AW setting key targets has shown through evidence to make change happen.

“What you measure you tend to achieve in any kind of business,” said Ms Olaris.

“A number of countries do (have a gender equality act) and they tend to be countries that sit on top of the global agenda equality status, countries like Finland and Iceland.

“There’s all sorts of unconscious bias that happens with recruitment areas.

“We see a lot more men in leadership roles, we have ingrained in our thinking, not consciously, that men are better at leading.

“We also know if you take names off CVs women are more likely to get the job.”

Ms Olaris explained the quotas are not a requirement, but are rather built into the legislation to allow those to assess what best suits their organisation.

“It’s envisaged that each sector or entity will develop their own gender balance within their organisations.

“As long as organisations are shown to be working towards it, then that will be OK.

“We just need women to get a fair go.”

Click PLAY below to hear more from Kristine Olaris

Melbourne City Councillor, Nick Reece stood by the gender equality bill telling Neil Mitchell “it’s about creating a fairer Victoria”.

“I’m a supporter of gender quotas,” said Councillor Reece.

“Having more gender equal industries is a great thing.

“We still have very significant problems with women being allowed to get to the position they should get to based on their skill.

“I do believe unconscious bias still exists, the number of women in senior positions is going backwards.

 Click PLAY below to hear from Councillor Nick Reece 

Image: Hero Images

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