The audit, an Australian-first, will examine the salaries and work conditions for both men and women across all government departments, agencies and boards. The research will identify which sections are performing well and which need to make improvements. In particular, the audit will look at the pay scales of men and women in similar roles, along with recruitment and promotion, mentoring and development.
Flexible work practices and organisational culture are also on the checklist of the audit.
The gender audit represents a central part of the Victorian Government's Gender Equality Strategy, written by Minister for Women Fiona Richardson.
Among the aims will be to create a 'tool kit' to foster gender equality that might be used by the state's businesses and other organisations. The audit is based on the premise that gender equality begins at government level.
Another key objective is to help Victorian women achieve financial empowerment; women currently retire with approximately half the superannuation of men. The audit will also include gender targets.
“It would be toothless and meaningless if it didn’t have targets across government boards,” said a spokesperson from the minister’s office.
A long-term goal of the audit is to increase women's participation in the Victorian workforce and to close the gender pay gap.
“Closing the gender employment gap in Australia would boost the Australian GDP by 20 per cent,” the spokesperson said.
The program is designed to encourage all Victorian employers to carry out similar gender audits, with the possibility that the government will assist in their facilitation. It is believed that increasing workplace participation can reduce the cost of welfare, increase household savings and reduce retirement expenditure.
Government employees themselves are likely to be the first beneficiaries of the audit's findings, with new employment conditions, such as increased flexibility, set to be implemented.
The Victorian State Government is likely to conduct a 'gender audit' of all its departments, an unprecedented initiative designed to gauge and improve women's position in the workplace.