Appendix A: Glossary of terms

This section provides a glossary of key terms used within the progress reporting 2023 guidance.

Defined entity

The Act applies to certain organisations that have 50 or more employees, called defined entities. These include public service bodies, public entities, special bodies, local councils, universities, Court Services Victoria, and the Office of Public Prosecutions (s5(1)). You can find a full list of defined entities on our website. Throughout this guidance, defined entities have also been referred to as ‘organisations’.


Section 3 of the Act defines an employee as a person employed by the defined entity on a full-time, part-time, casual, or fixed term basis (including an apprentice or trainee) but does not include:

  1. a contractor or subcontractor; or
  2. an outworker; or
  3. a person on a vocational placement; or
  4. a student gaining work experience; or
  5. a volunteer

Employee representative

A body who represents and speaks officially on behalf of an employee or group of employees. In most organisations this will be a trade union but may also include other representative bodies.

Governing body

The governing body is responsible for strategic oversight and financial management of an organisation. This could be a board, council (elected or otherwise), or committee of management. If there are multiple boards or sub-committees of management, choose the most senior governing body for the purposes of this reporting (although it is recommended that you analyse the gender composition of the others as well).

Intersectional gender inequality

Section 6(8) of the Act outlines that gender inequality may be compounded by other forms of disadvantage or discrimination that a person may experience based on Aboriginality, age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation, and other attributes. For the purposes of this guidance, the Commission refers to this concept as “intersectional gender inequality”.

The concept of intersectional disadvantage or discrimination is sometimes called intersectionality. Intersectionality explains how people may experience overlapping forms of discrimination or disadvantage based on social characteristics such as (but not limited to) sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, language, religion, class, socioeconomic status, gender identity, ability, or age.

To learn more about intersectional gender inequality and intersectionality, please refer to our Leading practice resources page.

For more information on how to apply an intersectional lens for each of the obligations, please see our guidance on applying intersectionality.

Personal information

Under the Gender Equality Act 2020, defined entities have important privacy obligations:

  • to remove any personal information from their GEAPs or progress reports prior to publishing
  • when submitting any material that is likely to be published, to advise the Commissioner whether the material contains any personal information.

Personal information has the same meaning here as in section 3 of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014. Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014It refers to information about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information.

Policies, programs and services (gender impact assessments)

Policy: Policies are formal or informal principles, statements, standards or rules to be followed by an organisation. Policies requiring a gender impact assessment will mostly be external-facing policies aimed at the general public (for example, customers, clients, students, patients, community members, and consumers). This could include a community engagement policy, grants policy, legal policy or reviews that impact the public, or a privacy policy.

The terms ‘strategy’, ‘plan’, ‘framework’ and ‘policy are often used interchangeably. Strategies, plans and frameworks often set the direction for future programs and services by stating priorities and shaping budget allocations. Because of this, it is likely that a strategy, plan or framework will fall under the definition of a policy.

Programs: A program is an initiative or set of projects with a set of deliverables. It may have a defined duration or be ongoing. A program is geared towards accomplishing a major goal or set of goals or outcomes. For example, small and large-scale grants programs, infrastructure development, and public-facing leadership programs. Large scale programs of work such as budget bids and business cases (including budget bids developed across Victorian Government departments) are considered programs. This is because a budget bid is the proposal for a program of work.

Services: Defined entities providea wide range of services to the public that may vary from one entity to another. Services may include aged care, childcare, health care, safety, environment, emergency and waste management, open space planning, student services, libraries, recreation and other public facilities and infrastructure. Services may also include transport, cost, accessibility, and communication methods.

Relevant period

Relevant period means the previous two financial years to 30 June in a progress reporting year. In the case of this progress report, the relevant period is 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2023 (or 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2023 for universities).

Different components of a progress report may have different reporting periods that fall within the relevant period. For example, you are required to report on all GIAs undertaken across the period from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2023, however some components of the progress audit track data measures across a 12-month period within this timeframe. Reporting periods for each component are explicit throughout the guidance.

For all defined entities except universities, the current progress audit reporting period is 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.

For universities, the current progress audit reporting period is 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, to align with Workplace Gender Equality Agency reporting periods.

Strategies and measures

Strategies and measures are the planned actions in your GEAP. Setting strategies and measures in your GEAP is a requirement under the Act. The primary focus of them should be on promoting gender equality in your workplace (s10(1)(b)), focusing on the people who are part of your workforce as defined in section 3 of the Act.

Workplace gender equality indicators

As defined under section 3 of the Act, ‘workplace gender equality indicators’ means the following:

  1. gender composition of all levels of the workforce
  2. gender composition of governing bodies
  3. equal remuneration for work of equal or comparable value across all levels of the workforce, irrespective of gender
  4. sexual harassment in the workplace
  5. recruitment and promotion practices in the workplace
  6. availability and utilisation of terms, conditions and practices relating to:
    1. family violence leave; and
    2. flexible working arrangements; and
    3. working arrangements supporting employees with family or caring responsibilities
  7. gendered segregation within the workplace
  8. any other prescribed matters.

Please note that there are no other prescribed workplace gender equality indicators for 2023 progress reporting.