Council endorses Greater Bendigo Gender Equity Strategy

The Greater Bendigo City Council has endorsed the Greater Bendigo Coalition for Gender Equity Strategy at last night’s Council meeting.

The Coalition for Gender Equity is made up of more than 30 local public, private and community organisations and groups, including the City of Greater Bendigo, who are committed to advancing gender equity and preventing violence against women and children.

City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke said the Gender Equity Strategy will help guide the Coalition’s collective work over the next five years in order to help achieve and sustain gender equality in Greater Bendigo.

“The Coalition has a broad and extensive reach throughout Greater Bendigo with member organisations employing over 8,000 staff with direct and regular contact with the community through the delivery of core programs, services and facilities. Its vision is to see a community where all people are respected, safe to participate in all aspects of community life and have equitable access to the resources they need to succeed in achieving their aspirations, whilst living in a community that is free from violence against women,” Cr O’Rourke said.

“The strategy identifies structural change, relational change and attitudinal change as key objectives and it focuses on six key priority areas – workplaces, education, community, health, sport and recreation and emergency management.

“Through a collective approach, the Coalition is working towards seeing gender equality become the new norm in Greater Bendigo.

“The strategy will help to ensure all residents are safe to participate in all aspects of community life and able to access the resources they need to achieve their goals while living in a community that is free from violence against women and children.

“It’s an important piece of work because gender inequity is unfair, unjust and unacceptable. Addressing it is critical in preventing violence against women, recognising and respecting the value of all people, and delivering the social and economic benefits that arise from communities that are safe, fair and just for everyone.

“We know that gender inequity happens when people are living and working in unfair, unjust and unacceptable circumstances, which then impacts on access to health, education, work outcomes and community participation.

“Gender inequality is not just a women’s issue, it affects men and gender diverse people too. Men often face the social pressure to act like a “real man” which can negatively impact their health and wellbeing, while gender diverse people can experience high levels of isolation and exclusion due to ignorance around gender diversity.

“To achieve gender equity we must recognise that within communities, people of different genders currently have varying opportunities, resources and responsibilities. To ensure fairness, strategies like this are needed to create an equal playing field.

“While gender equity means different things to different people, we hope the strategy will help to level the playing field.

“The strategy will help to guide activities across our community and monitor progress towards achieving gender equity.”

Members of the Coalition include AFL Central Victoria, Annie North Women’s Refuge, Be.Bendigo, Belgravia Leisure, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Bendigo Community Health Service, Bendigo Health, Bendigo Interfaith Council, Bendigo Loddon Primary Care Partnership, Bendigo Kangan Institute, CatholicCare Sandhurst, Centre against Sexual Assault Central Victoria, Centre for Non-Violence, City of Greater Bendigo, Coliban Water, Country Fire Authority, Department of Education and Training, Victoria, Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning, Victoria, Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria, Dja Dja Wurrung Aboriginal Clans Corporation, Goldfields Library Corporation, Greater Bendigo against Family Violence Committee, , La Trobe University, Bendigo, , Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, Murray Primary Health Network (PHN), North Central Catchment Management Authority, Parks Victoria, Sport and Recreation Victoria, Sports Focus, Victoria Police, Bendigo, Women’s Health Loddon Mallee and YMCA.

The strategy is available online at www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/coalition-gender-equity

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