Embedding gender impact assessments into your organisation

How to make gender impact assessments business as usual.

About this resource

This resource is designed to support people leading gender equality work in their organisation in creating an enabling environment for staff to complete gender impact assessments (GIAs). It offers guidance to help build workforce capability and set up systems and structures to embed GIAs in business as usual.

Duty to promote gender equality

Under section 7 of the Gender Equality Act 2020 (Act), defined entities have a positive duty to promote gender equality. This means, in addition to undertaking GIAs on relevant policies, programs or services, your organisation needs to:

Along with the requirement to conduct gender impact assessments, this duty will ensure the Victorian public sector, local councils and universities make lasting and genuine progress towards gender equality across our community.

Embedding GIAs as business as usual

GIA work cannot be the responsibility of one person or area alone. Staff from all levels should be able to support GIA work. Global evidence shows practical ways that staff can work together to apply a gender lens to policy, program, or service design. These learnings can help your organisation embed GIAs into business as usual.

1. Securing leadership and workforce commitment to GIAs

It is important to foster workforce commitment to promoting gender equality so that your organisation is compliant under the Act. Engaging with leaders in your organisation will help build an understanding of and commitment to GIAs. Building staff understanding and accountability for their obligation to undertake GIAs will also help them consider when and how to do GIAs. You will need to explain the goals of a GIA, the process, and the reporting requirements to your workforce. There are many ways to do this, but consider using both top-down (where leadership teams drive change) and bottom-up (empowering staff at different levels of the organisation) approaches.

By themselves, both top-down and bottom-up approaches are useful and effective in embedding strategies. But together, they complement one another to encourage GIA commitment at all levels.

Building buy-in and commitment

To start, it is important to help staff understand the importance of gender equality and GIAs. This knowledge is necessary for applying either a top-down or bottom-up approach.

Our website features many resources explaining the importance of GIAs. Consider using these, as they help demonstrate the value of conducting GIAs. These resources, coupled with findings from your workplace gender audit and Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP), can be presented to leadership and other teams to assist in building the understanding of the need for GIAs and your legislated obligation to undertake them.

2. Embed into existing processes and structures

Rather than being established as new and standalone processes, many principles of GIAs complement existing processes and structures and can easily be integrated. Embedding GIAs into existing business processes will enable assessments to become business as usual.

3. Establish systems of prioritisation and decision-making

Setting up decision-making systems can assist staff in understanding which policies, programs or services will require a GIA. Refer to our Determine if a gender impact assessment is required webpage to assess if your policy, program or service has a direct and significant impact on the public and if it will require a GIA.

4. Provide ongoing resourcing, training, and guidance

Help managers and staff understand the purpose, steps and requirements of a GIA. While one-off training can lay the foundations, ongoing resourcing, training, and guidance will be necessary to build capability and ensure new staff are equipped to undertake GIAs. The GIA process will be new to most people, so sharing learnings, tools and good practices on a regular basis will build staff and manager capability and make the most of time and resources.

5. Establish mechanisms for accountability and monitoring

Having clear mechanisms for GIA monitoring and accountability is important to ensuring your organisation is meeting its obligations. Consider the opportunities to embed GIA processes into the ways your organisation currently tracks compliance with its legislative obligations in your organisation.

6. Prepare for potential resistance

You may face resistance when doing GIA work in your organisation. This can happen in any setting and can take many different forms when progressing gender equality work. It can also come from individuals or groups of any gender.

There are resources available to help you prepare for resistance:

(En)countering resistance: Strategies to respond to resistance to gender equality initiatives

This resource from VicHealth addresses backlash and resistance to gender equality initiatives. It draws together effective tools and strategies that you can use to prepare yourself to respond to resistance.

Backlash & Buy-in: Responding to the challenges in achieving gender equality

This resource is from the Chief Executive Women and the Champions of Change Coalition. Leaders are the intended audience, but it is useful for all staff promoting gender equality. It explores a range of responses to change. It also provides insights on how you can encourage progress towards gender equality in your workplace.

Facing resistance in your work

This resource by Safe and Equal provides practical guidance to support organisations. It will help you understand how to plan for resistance against gender equality initiatives at work. It also has specific information for organisations doing work preventing violence against women.

How are you embedding GIAs in your organisation?

We are keen to hear about ideas and ways that you may have approached GIAs in your organisation, such as:

  • How are you applying an intersectional lens to GIAs?
  • What approvals processes have you established to complete GIAs?
  • What are some of the ways you are supporting staff to undertake GIAs?
  • What processes or systems have you set up to capture information for progress reporting?

Please share your ideas and approaches with us or submit any questions to: enquiries@genderequalitycommission.vic.gov.au