Respect women and call out violence

Last Friday, Dhelkaya Health hosted a 16 Days of Activism event featuring Victoria’s first Public Sector Equality Commissioner, Dr Niki Vincent.

“Gender inequality underpins violence against women,” Dr Vincent said.

“A recent report from the world economic forum found that we are still 131 years away from reaching gender equality globally and the UN reported that nine in 10 people world-wide, both men and women, still hold bias against women.

The Gender Equality Act came into effect in March 2021 and is the first legislation of it’s kind to make changes in public sector organisation from local councils and universities to health services and water catchment organisations. The gender equality act means these organisations have to conduct an audit every two years and provide the results to the Public Sector Equality Commissioner.

Each organisation must use a ‘gender lens’ over every program service and have a Gender Equality Action Plan which is made available to the public.

Dr Vincent said the organisations also need to look at how the ‘gender lens’ is compounded by intersectional factors such as disability, sexuality, cultural discrimination etc. 

“These action plans are designed to sustain change, not just be made and popped on a shelf. There are consequences under the legislation, public scrutiny and people becoming aware and outraged by the inequality who then advocate for change,” Dr Vincent said.

“Unless we explicitly think about gender it is overlooked and there is the potential for it to be defined by the default male perceptive. 

“We still have a huge amount of work to do. We grew up in a patriarchal society with implicit stereotypes and unconscious bias, even strong feminists, and we should not be ashamed, but aware.”

The event also commemorated the signing of the Collective Action for Respect and Equality (CARE) Partnership Commitment between Sue Race CEO of Dhelkaya Health and Women’s Health Loddon Mallee CEO Tricia Currie.

Ms Currie said we need to amplify women’s voices and make sure those voices are heard.

“Nothings will change on a global level if nothing changes at a local level and we don’t do the work alone, we do it together and we need to make sure we leave no one behind,” Ms Currie said. 

The commitment states that the prevention of violence against women is everyone’s business and that everyone has a role to play to help promote gender equality and prevent violence against women. 

Through signing the statement Dhelkaya is committing to create a workplace that promotes social justice, gender equality and respect for all women and to complete a CARE Partner Organisation survey each year.

To celebrate the collaboration a local dance group the Super Queeros performed a joyful dance and were joined by members of the audience. 

To find out more about 16-days of Activism visit

Jade Jungwirth
Jade is the former Editor of the Tarrangower Times and has lived in the region for over 16 years.