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MAV celebrates women in local government

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This International Women’s Day, the MAV has announced that it will introduce a new Gender Equity Workshop for the local government sector.

The workshop is part of the MAV’s Gender Equity Action Plan and will address issues such as stereotyping, unconscious bias and violence against women, as well as how to support diversity and gender equity.

It will be delivered to MAV employees before being offered more widely to MAV member councils.

MAV President Mary Lalios said a 2015 MAV survey showed 71 per cent of councils were interested in undertaking gender equity training to assist them to progress their work in promoting gender equity and preventing violence against women.

As well as this, in some of her first actions as MAV President, Cr Lalios will convene a Women’s Leadership in Local Government Forum and will seek that the MAV Board recommits to the Victorian Local Government Women’s Charter principles of gender equity, diversity and active citizenship.

“The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘be bold for change’ and I believe these new initiatives demonstrate a commitment to positive change within local government,” Cr Lalios said.

“The Victorian Government’s Gender Equality Strategy calls for an increase of women in local government leadership roles and our work will help the government to achieve that goal.

“Women make up around 51 per cent of our population and it is important that this is reflected around the decision-making table of councils.

“We made a good start at last year’s local government elections, when we saw the number of women elected to councils reach 38 per cent. But we still have a way to go.

“The new Women’s Leadership in Local Government Forum will invite representatives from key organisations to discuss how we can work together to encourage women from diverse areas of the community to be involved with local government, such as standing for election as councillors and participating in local decision-making.

“These new MAV initiatives will build on the already strong work of Victorian councils, who have been leading the way in both gender equity and preventing family violence.

“Seventy-eight councils have incorporated a family violence leave clause in their enterprise bargaining agreements, with negotiations underway for the remaining council. At least 25 councils also have a dedicated strategy in place for local actions to prevent violence against women, and a further 18 councils have created their own gender equity policy.”

Across the state today, a number of councils will be celebrating International Women’s Day by holding local community events such as morning teas, guest speakers and discussion forums.

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Contact MAV President Mary Lalios on 0447 189 409 or MAV Communications on 9667 5547.