The concept of Gender Equity recognises that people of different genders are afforded different opportunities by our society and experience power differently.
Gender Equity evolved from the Equality for Women and Women’s Rights movements of the last century, which highlighted discrimination, disadvantage, impoverishment and violence experienced by women in our society.
While there have been improvements, Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) believes that these issues continue to the present day, and a Gender Equity approach recognises that they relate in different ways to women, men, non-binary gender and transgender people.
Gender equity has immense social and cultural benefits and supports equal opportunities for all members of the community to live fulfilling lives and contribute equally at home, the workplace, in decision-making and wider.
Positive action is required to achieve Gender Equity and Council’s Gender Equity Strategy is the framework for delivering equal opportunity and fairness in treatment to people of different genders in the Blue Mountains.
GENDER EQUITY STRATEGY 2021 – 2026. Blue Mountains City Council
The Gender Equity Strategy prioritised five key Objectives. These Objectives and their Actions are given below.
Objectives and Actions
Support gender equity initiatives within the City of Blue Mountains.
Council’s Vision for the city includes Gender Equity.
Ensure that Blue Mountains City Council workplace culture, practice, policy, planning and programs demonstrate gender equity and respect.
Ensure that the Blue Mountains Community is informed of Gender Equity implications of key social, economic and cultural parameters of life in the Blue Mountains.
Develop a community wide response and recognition of Gender Equity as a key social and economic challenge for the Blue Mountains.
Advocate for gender equity and the prevention of violence against women at a local, regional and state level.
Improve the gender representation of elected Councillors.
Advocate for gender inclusive design principles.
5. CAPACITY BUILDING
Support Council staff, partners and the Blue Mountains Community to understand how they can promote gender equity in their everyday work and lives.
To build capacity through broadening community engagement and debate on gender equity.
Some examples of Current Gender Inequities
Data collected for the Blue Mountains LGA by the the Australian Bureau of Statistics (including the 2016 Census) illustrates continuing gender inequity and discrimination, and gender-based violence.
Through awareness raising of these ongoing issues, our community can work together to tackle domestic violence, safety, discrimination in employment, education & income, and homelessness. In turn this will help drive the change in our city for more opportunity for all. (Note: These figures were collected before the 2019/20 Bushfires and before the impact of the COVID19 Pandemic.)
Safety and Violence Against Women and Girls
62% of all reported instances of domestic violence related assault in the Blue Mountains in 2019, were against women (108 of 173).
Employment and income
61% of males and 54% of females living in the Blue Mountains Local Government area are employed. While rates of employment of both males and females are similar (95% of people considered part of the labour force), a much higher proportion of men are employed full time than women (72% compared to 44%).
Older women are the fastest growing cohort at risk of homelessness.
32.5% of Blue Mountains City’s female population aged 15 years and over did not have a formal qualification compared to 30.6% male population.
The Gender Equity Strategy is evolving and the Strategy will change with new issues as they emerge and are documented.
Community Engagement on Gender Equity in the Blue Mountains (GEBM)
Following the Strategic Plan‘s first and fourth Objectives: Leadership; and Partnerships, Council is supporting community engagement to raise awareness and get people involved through the Gender Equity Blue Mountains Project go to link.
This Project was developed through wide community consultation in 2019 and 2020, culminating in a partnership with key Community organisations and an Action Plan.
The partner organisations with Council are:
The GEBM Action Plan consists of three action areas, coordinated by one of these agencies, with Council providing the administrative support:
Action 1 Education and Information: convened by the ZONTA club of the Blue Mountains
Zonta provides supports in the areas of employment education, resources, knowledge and management of the website. Know your rights!
Action Area 2: Safe Spaces: Convened by Blue Mountains Women’s Health and Resource Centre. Safety in public space in the Blue Mountains making spaces more welcoming; public art; EViE Ending Violence Improving Equality project, Youth Organisation. https://www.facebook.com/eviebmwhrc
Action Area 3; Events: Convened by Belong Blue Mountains
Creating events that celebrate gender difference such as IDAHOBIT Day and White Ribbon Day.
Partners and Stakeholders of Gender Equity Blue Mountains Community Group