This year’s International Women’s Day is a significant one in the local government space, as it marks 100 years since Victoria’s first female councillor was elected.
Mary Rogers was elected to Richmond City Council in August 1920.
Ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come towards achieving gender equity and the journey we still have ahead.
Today, women make up 37.5 per cent of Victorian councillors and 47.4 per cent of mayors.
It is important that local councils reflect the communities they serve, which is why the Victorian Government is working towards achieving 50 per cent female councillors and mayors by 2025 as part of the Victorian Gender Equality Strategy.
Out of the state’s 79 local councils, 35 have more than 40 per cent female councillors and there are 36 women mayors in Victoria, which is the highest number in our history.
As of March 2020, 23 of Victoria’s council CEOs are women, compared to just two years ago when there were only 14 female CEOs.
The first Ministerial Women’s Roundtable of the year is also coming up soon, where the ground-breaking Gender Equality Act 2020 will be discussed. The Gender Equality Act recently passed through the Victorian Parliament and heralds important reforms to promote gender equality in the public sector, including councils and universities.
DELWP also provides funding for the Victorian Local Governance Association’s (VLGA) Local Women Leading Change program, which supports female candidates including Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse candidates in the lead up to the 2020 local government elections.
Ms Rogers was the second ever female councillor in Australia, following Grace Benny who was elected a member of South Australia's Brighton Council in 1919. You can read more about Ms Rogers here: http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE3955b.htm
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual, you can find out more about the event here https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Theme
Page last updated: 06/03/20