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March 2022


The purpose of this guide is to provide guidance for defined entities to support understanding and interpretation of the terms ‘policies’, ‘programs’ and ‘services’ and ‘direct and significant impact on the public’ within the Gender Equality Act (2020)External Link (the Act).

This guidance will assist defined entities to determine which policies, programs and services are likely to have a direct and significant impact on the public. It focuses on how these terms apply to the obligation to undertake gender impact assessments. Understanding these terms will also help defined entities meet their duty to promote gender equality.

It is important to note that this is general advice designed to be broadly applicable to all defined entities. This means that each defined entity will need to consider how to apply it in its own organisational context.

What does the Act say?

Under section 7 of the Act (Duty to promote gender equality), a defined entity must — in developing policies and programs and in delivering services that are to be provided to the public, or have a direct and significant impact on the public:

  1. consider and promote gender equality; and
  2. take necessary and proportionate action towards achieving gender equality.

Under section 9 of the Act (Defined entity must undertake gender impact assessments), a defined entity must undertake a gender impact assessment when developing or reviewing any policy of, or program or service provided by, the entity that has a direct and significant impact on the public.

Please note: Victorian Government Departments preparing funding proposals for the 2023–24 state budget process are subject to particular gender impact assessment requirements. Please contact DTF for further information at

Advice for specific industries

You can read tailored advice for specific industries relating to obligations under the Act, including for determining when a gender impact assessment is required:

Steps to follow

These will help you determine if a gender impact assessment is required under the Gender Equality Act (2020).

Reviewed 24 November 2022

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