WHISE welcomes Victoria’s first Commissioner for Gender Equality

Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE), the women’s health service for the Southern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne welcomes the appointment of Dr Niki Vincent as Victoria’s first Commissioner for Gender Equality.

“This is a major announcement by the Victorian Government and a significant moment in the history of gender equality,” says Kit McMahon, CEO of WHISE. 

“We need to recognise that for the first time we have a leader appointed by Government to drive gender equality and change in 300 employers across Victoria. “

Dr. Vincent is currently the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commissioner and has led independent reviews into sex discrimination, sexual harassment and predatory behavior in the South Australian Police Force. She has also run a three-year program across the Australian Government to promote workplace gender equality and prevent violence against women. 

“This announcement comes at a crucial time for women and girls across Victoria,” says Kit McMahon. 

“We know that women are being disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic across all aspects of their lives.  Having Dr Vincent’s appointment announced at this time will really galvanize focus on the work required to create equity now, through the recovery and into the future.” 

The creation of the Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner was part of a suite of reforms to promote and drive gender equality that came about when the Gender Equality Act 2020 was enacted in February this year. Coming into effect in March 2021, the Act empowers the Commissioner to promote and advance the Act, collaborate with organisations to improve gender equality, monitor progress, report on progress and, if necessary use compliance and enforcement measures.

“All the Board and Staff at WHISE warmly welcome Dr Vincent”, said Kit McMahon. 

“We are looking forward to meeting her and her team, and supporting her in her work.  Gender Equality is at the heart of all that we do at WHISE and our network of partners and stakeholders are already thinking and preparing for the commencement of the Act. 

“We very much look forward to making this historical opportunity achieve the vision of not only the Act and the Victorian Government, but realise the benefits that we know all of our community and society can receive when we have true gender equality.”