The ACT Women's Plan 2010-2015 provides a whole of government approach to improving the status of women and girls in the ACT. The plan identifies economic, social, and environmental themes as the areas where progress is required to be made. The strategy can be accessed at the following website: http://www.dhcs.act.gov.au
The Directorate supported the strategy through a number of activities under its three priority areas.
- Economic: women and girls equally and fully participate in, and benefit from, the ACT economy.
- Social: women and girls equally and fully participate in sustaining their families and communities and enjoy community inclusion and wellbeing.
- Environmental: women and girls equally and fully participate in planning and sharing an accessible and sustainable city.
Progress against economic indicators
Pathways in education and training
The Directorate recognises the importance of ensuring equal access for women and girls to work related training and lifelong learning. In 2011-12, The Directorate administered a number of VET programs aimed at providing easily accessible, relevant training to women and girls.
The Directorate administers the Australian School-based Apprenticeships (ASBA) program which recognises the importance of providing pathways for girls to enter vocational occupations. The program aims to increase the number of well prepared individuals having the option of transitioning to a full apprenticeship or traineeship upon leaving school. In the 2011 school year, 51 percent of students commencing an ASBA were girls.
Under the Australian Apprenticeships program in 2011-12, 19 percent of participants commencing a traditional apprenticeship were women. Of the participants commencing a traineeship, 58 percent were women.
The Productivity Places Program (PPP) provided training from Certificate II to Certificate IV for job seekers wishing to gain qualifications to increase their chances of gaining paid employment or self-employment. During 2011-12, 51 percent of job seekers commencing in the PPP were women. Qualifications take up to two years to complete.
The Priorities Support Program (PSP) aims to increase the access and participation in VET of disadvantaged learners. In 2011-12, 55 percent of participants commencing in PSP were women. Of the participants completing qualifications or statements of attainment during this period, 51 percent were women.
Increased opportunities for advancement in the workforce
The PPP also provides funding for the training of existing workers in VET qualifications ranging from Certificate III to Advanced Diploma. The funding of nationally recognised work-related training for existing workers through the PPP aims to increase the productivity of the full-time ACT workforce and increase the number of better skilled casual or part-time workers seeking to participate fully in the workforce. In 2011-12, 55 percent of existing workers commencing in the PPP were women. Qualifications take between 12 months to three years to complete. Of the existing workers completing, or continuing to study towards, a qualification under PPP in the reporting period, 51 percent were women.
Increased decision making opportunities in economic leadership
Women were well represented at senior decision-making levels in the Directorate.
- Three of the Directorate's five senior executives and 10 of the 14 executives were women as at 30 June 2012.
- In 84 ACT public schools, 55 principals (65%) were women as at 30 June 2012.
- Every ACT public school has a school board with the board chairperson elected by the members of the board. Women comprised 47 percent of ACT public school board chairpersons.
- In May 2012, two Directorate staff attended a Young Women's Leadership workshop which focused on issues of advocacy, feminism and leadership and how young women can manage the issues faced in leadership roles.
Improved financial equity
The Directorate developed and promoted the Facilitating Part-Time Work Arrangements - Guidelines for Principals, Managers and Employees to facilitate part-time work arrangements for women. Flexible work arrangements not only meet the work/life balance needs of employees but also provide opportunities to reorganise and reinvigorate the work environment, improve morale, develop staff and broaden career options.
Progress against social indicators
Recognition of contributions to the community
The Directorate held a breakfast function on International Women's Day (8 March 2012) to celebrate the achievements of female staff and their contribution to public schools, the Directorate and to the wider Canberra community. Female ACT college student representatives attended the event and a number of Women of Achievement Awards were presented to staff.
Increased community leadership and decision making opportunities
Women had considerable representation in Directorate advisory bodies and actively participated in decision-making processes. The two ministerial advisory committees, the Government Schools Education Council and the Non-government Schools Education Council, were chaired by women and had a significant number of female members
Affordable and accessible gender and culturally sensitive services
Every school had a pastoral care coordinator whose role was to provide a personalised approach to student wellbeing and support. The Families and Schools Together program, School Youth Health Nurse program and Disability Support Officers also contributed towards supporting affordable and accessible gender and culturally sensitive services.
Each school had an Anti Sexual Harassment Officer. Targeted training was provided for these officers during the reporting period.
A Cultural Competency training program designed to raise awareness and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the diversity within and between them commenced.
Box C24.1: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Scholarships
On 9 March 2012, six year 11 students were awarded $5,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Scholarships.
The recipients of the 2012 awards were from Stromlo High School, Lyneham High School, Belconnen High School, Calwell High School and Telopea Park School.
They will provide a mentoring role to younger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, developing their leadership and teaching skills as well as providing positive role models for other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
Pathways for women experiencing disadvantage, social exclusion and isolation
The Directorate administered and funded programs to provide the best possible means for women to participate actively in community life through schooling, vocational and community education and training
Addressing violence against women and their children and protection and support for victims
The Directorate continued to deliver Respectful Workplace training to employees. The training focused on creating safe and respectful workplaces and provided information on preventing and managing bullying and harassment in the workplace.
Progress against environmental indicators
Available opportunities for decisions about urban planning, transport and the environment
A number of women were members of the Design Working Groups for a number of new schools. The Design Working Groups were comprised of stakeholder and school community representatives and provided input and advice to the Directorate on the design for each school.
Consideration towards safety, security and accessibility when designing, building or retrofitting public facilities
The Directorate assisted schools to implement security options such as perimeter fencing, in order to provide additional security for students. Perimeter fencing allows schools to control entry and exit points.
The Directorate continued to work closely with schools and the Australian Federal Police to assess and develop strategies to improve security and safety at school sites.
For more information contact:
Planning and Performance
(02) 6205 5511