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Gender impact assessments

Making sure our work works for everyone – when, why and how to do a gender impact assessment.

Your gender can affect your needs and experiences. This means that policies, programs and services can impact people of different genders in different ways.

If public sector organisations, universities and local councils don’t think about how their work affects different people, they might unintentionally reinforce inequalities.

That’s why the Gender Equality Act 2020 requires defined entities to conduct gender impact assessments so policies, programs and services are designed to benefit all Victorians.

  • If you are a defined entity, the Act requires you to do gender impact assessments of all new policies, programs and services that directly and significantly impact the public, as well as those up for review.

    You will need to start doing this when the Act commences on 31 March 2021.

  • A gender impact assessment must:

    • Assess the effects that the policy, program or service may have on people of different genders.
    • Explain how the policy, program or service will be changed to better support Victorians of all genders and promote gender equality.
    • Where practical, apply an intersectional approach to consider how gender inequality can be compounded by disadvantage or discrimination that a person may experience on the basis of other factors such as age, disability, or ethnicity.
  • Your organisation needs to determine which policies, programs and services will have a direct and significant impact on the public based on your own knowledge and understanding of your context.

    But you can conduct a gender impact assessment on any piece of work whether small or large. By asking some key questions, collecting data, and developing options, you can ensure you’re considering the needs and experiences of all Victorians.

  • Gender impact assessments can be incorporated into your normal process for developing policies, programs and services.

    A comprehensive gender impact assessment includes the following steps:

    Define the issue and challenge assumptions

    Define the problem or issue your policy, program or service is trying to address and make sure this definition considers how the problem(s) or issue(s) is shaped by gender.

    Understand your context

    Think about what information is available and what further evidence is needed to understand how gender shapes the context.

    Options analysis

    Develop potential options for your policy, program or service and weigh up the gendered impact of each.

    Make recommendations

    Make a final recommendation based on the evidence collected and analysis conducted.

    See our detailed gender impact assessment toolkit below for further guidance.

  • The Act requires organisations to report on gender impact assessments every 2 years. This means it’s important to keep a record of your gender impact assessments.

    Find out more about progress reports.

Gender impact assessment toolkit

This toolkit has been developed to help you assess the gendered impact of your policies, programs and services. It sets out a best-practice gender impact assessment process and includes templates for recording information, analysis and outcomes.

As this is a best-practice toolkit, you are not required to use it in order to be compliant with the Gender Equality Act 2020. However, using the toolkit will help you achieve the best possible outcomes from a comprehensive gender impact assessment.

As a general rule, we recommend that the greater the likely impact of a policy, program or service, the more time you should spend on a gender impact assessment as part of the development or review process.

This toolkit has been developed on the basis of current research and evidence however as you begin to use it in your organisation, we would welcome your feedback on how it can be improved.

Reviewed 18 February 2021

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