Gender equality action plan 2022-2025

The Gender equality action plan (GEAP) outlines how we are working to achieve gender equality in our department.

Advancing gender equality will benefit all our employees and enhance the work we do for the Victorian community. Gender equality in the workplace:

  • has a positive impact on organisational culture and performance
  • facilitates greater innovation, productivity and employee engagement
  • enhances employee attraction and retention.

As a leader in Victoria’s work to achieve gender equality, we are committed to:

  • modelling gender equality best practice in the workplace
  • advocating for change in other departments and agencies
  • sharing lessons learnt.

Our vision for gender equality

We aim to lead the way in workplace gender equality and workplace diversity and inclusion.
We will provide a safe, respectful and equitable workplace. A workplace where all employees have access to equal power, resources and opportunities to reach their full potential.
We will take sustained and enduring action to address gender inequality and other forms of inequality and disadvantage.

How we developed the plan

To develop the plan, we:

  • carried out a workplace gender audit to assess our state of gender equality
  • consulted with and gathered feedback from staff
  • considered research and best practice guidance on workplace gender equality. 

What is in the plan

The Gender Equality Act 2020 specifies that a gender equality action plan must include the results of a workplace gender audit.

We must also:

  • put in place strategies and measures for promoting gender equality in the workplace
  • report to the public on the progress of gender equality in the workplace
  • complete gender impact assessments on new and revised policies, programs or services that have a direct and significant impact on the public.
Focus areas and strategies
Focus area 1: Strategy and business alignment

We will ensure that gender equality is prioritised in all work we do. We will apply a gender lens to our policies, programs, services, strategies, operations and change processes.

What we learnt from data and staff consultations What we will do about it
We are unable to robustly identify, measure and address the inequities experienced by diverse staff due to gaps in collection of intersectional workforce data.
  • implement systems to centrally capture, analyse and share data, including intersectional gender data 
  • address barriers to employees sharing diversity data in systems and surveys. 
Our policies, programs and services are not always aligned with gender equality principles.
  • use gender impact assessments to apply a gender lens to our key policies, programs and services 
  • update our internal and public records including strategies, plans, guidelines, templates and webpages to make sure they are inclusive and free from discrimination 
  • use budgeting, purchasing, procurement, funding, contract management and service agreement management processes to improve gender equality 
  • assess our organisational change processes for gender-based impacts, risks and opportunities 
  • implement our Diversity and inclusion framework to complement GEAP strategies and outcomes. 


Focus area 2: Leadership and accountability

We will build a workforce that reflects the diversity of our community, including diversity at all levels of leadership. We will ensure that our leaders prioritise gender equality and are held to account for progress.

What we learnt from data and staff consultations

What we will do about it

There is an absence of intersectional data on our Board members and composition of governance groups Our Board to biannually discuss gender and intersectional equality and how to ensure diversity on Board and internal committees 
Lack of accountability from leaders results in inaction around diversity and inclusion
  • increase divisional transparency and accountability for addressing gender inequalities. 
  • establish an equality, diversity and inclusion committee to monitor and govern GEAP and DI framework implementation. 
  • Embed inclusive leadership principles and practices into our leadership development programs 
  • Review our performance and development plans (PDP) and performance guidance materials to improve performance and development goal setting, one-on-one meetings and PDP reviews
Time and budgets are barriers to cultural change and diversity awareness, particularly in engaging middle managers Implement a strategic resource plan for GEAP implementation 


Focus area 3: Employment and careers

We will identify and address gender pay inequities, including inequities experienced by diverse staff. We will tackle structural barriers to career progression and satisfaction including recruitment, selection, promotion, learning, capability building and career development barriers for diverse staff.

What we learnt from data and staff consultations  What we will do about it

There is occupational segregation and low representation of diverse staff and diverse women within the workforce, particularly at senior levels. 

There is an over-representation of men in senior roles or leadership. 

Older staff and diverse groups experience occupational segregation, devaluation, ageism and lack of support, including through key life stages such as career breaks, menopause and retirement. 

Identify and address barriers to employment, promotion and retention for diverse staff by: 

  • analysing intersectional gender audit data and implementing Recruit smarter: best practice guidelines for inclusive recruitment 
  • implementing innovative recruitment and entry processes to attract diverse staff and address inequalities in occupations that show a gender imbalance 
  • delivering an executive and senior management leadership development program for diverse women with defined progression points to higher roles 
  • reviewing and updating DFFH’s learning and career development programs 
  • implementing strategies to support women and diverse staff through key life stages

The female dominated workforce ‘hides’ the gender pay gap.  

Our median pay gap is zero, however gender pay gaps exist within divisions, position levels and types of employment.  

Increase transparency and accountability for addressing gender pay gaps (including intersectional pay gaps) by: 

  • establishing pay equity dashboards to enhance transparency and inform equitable decisions 
  • preparing guidance for divisions and hiring managers on addressing pay inequities  
  • reviewing the pay policy and work value review policy 
Diverse staff experience gender pay gaps, however there is no capacity to measure and address gaps Prepare targeted strategies to respond to pay gaps identified among diverse staff, including identifying and applying special measure conditions to relevant higher classification, manager or leadership positions


Focus area 4: Culture and safety

We will support staff wellbeing by promoting equitable access to flexible work arrangements and supports for staff with diverse caring and parental responsibilities. We will create safer, more respectful workplaces by acting to prevent discriminatory and harmful behaviours and establishing trusted, transparent response frameworks to support employees who have experienced harmful behaviours.


What we learnt from data and staff consultations What we will do about it 
The reporting frameworks, systems and processes for sexual harassment and other harmful behaviours are not visible, clear, trusted, transparent or always acted on.  

Take action to increase perpetrator accountability and deter harmful behaviours 

Establish an accessible single central intake and referral point for staff to report sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying and other inappropriate behaviour, issues and risks. 

Address barriers to staff reporting, including increasing the options available to staff.

Staff from diverse groups experience disproportionately high rates of discrimination, harassment, racism and inappropriate behaviour, and additional barriers to reporting

Deliver targeted interventions for at risk groups to encourage help seeking behaviour, strengthen prevention and address barriers to reporting of sexual harassment in the workplace. 

Establish culturally safe mechanisms to address racism, discrimination, bullying and inappropriate behaviour in relation to diverse staff.

There is low uptake of parental leave entitlements and unpaid careers leave by male employees

Promote and facilitate equitable uptake of flexible working arrangements, parental leave and paternity leave via: 

  • central records of flexible work arrangements  
  • review of flexible work policies and practices  
  • regular communications, including campaigns targeted at men 
  • guidance and training for managers 
Inconsistent support for flexible working arrangements adversely impact staff with parenting and carer responsibilities (including diverse staff)

Offer and promote job share and flexible working arrangements that are innovative and accessible via: 

  • implementation of a job share platform 
  • piloting innovative flexible working models

Low uptake of family violence leave provisions. 

MARAM implementation not yet embedded into BAU or organisational development frameworks 

Strengthen organisational responses and supports for staff experiencing family violence by: 

  • rolling out the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) implementation plan 
  • strengthening communications 
  • building manager capability  
  • regularly evaluating responses and supports. 
Short term or ’hands off’ interventions (such as mandatory online short courses) are compliance-focused rather than genuinely building awareness and knowledge to effect cultural change

Implement prevention actions targeting inappropriate and harmful behaviours including: 

  • trans and gender diverse awareness training and resources  
  • bystander interventions to prevent and challenge harmful behaviours 
  • implementing Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission program to address sexual harassment and sex discrimination around pregnancy, parental leave and access to flexible working arrangements  
  • implementing evidence-based awareness raising workshops on harmful gender stereotypes  
  • applying for Australian Workplace Equality Index accreditation 

Develop a 'Trans and gender diverse affirmation' policy and resources, and increase availability of all-gender and gender-neutral bathrooms. 


The Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector has not yet completed a compliance check on our Gender Equality Action Plan. We may update the plan following their compliance check process.