Office for Women: reflecting on the year that was

Office for Women: reflecting on the year that was

Office for Women Grants and Funding National Womens Alliance
Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

There are many highlights for the Office for Women to share from 2015.

The announcement of the Women’s Safety Package to end violence against women and their children was just one of many significant achievements for the Office this year.

With Christmas fast approaching, the time has come to reflect on the successes of the Office, and turn our sights to what the next year will hold.  

This year, combatting domestic violence against women and their children, establishing more leadership pathways for women in business and boosting women’s economic security were all high on the agenda.

Reducing violence against women and their children

In 2015, elevating the issue of violence against women and their children to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agenda is due to collective leadership and efforts by all government leaders. The establishment of the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children added expertise and momentum to this national issue. Support offered by the Secretariat helped the Chair, Mr Ken Lay APM, and co-Chairs, Ms Heather Nancarrow and Ms Rosie Batty, amplify their voices in the community and directly affecting policy outcomes in this area.

4 March

A new $30 million National Campaign is announced, focusing on reducing violence against women and their children, and in partnership with states and territories.

2 April

The COAG Advisory Panel is announced to reduce violence against women and their children.

24 September

The $100 million Women’s Safety Package to reduce violence against women and their children is announced.

25 November

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women aims to raise public awareness and mobilise communities to make change and end this violence. The Government released confronting research highlighting the need for all Australians to challenge the negative attitudes that can lead to violence against women. This research will help inform the national campaign.

Mr Ken Lay APM, Chair of the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children, also makes a powerful speech that is widely acclaimed.

11 December 2015

Government Leaders at COAG, make further significant steps to address violence against women and their children by agreeing to: introducing a national DVO scheme; implementing national perpetrator standards; actions to limit technology-facilitated abuse; and hosting a national summit in 2016. 

Women in Leadership Roles

Encouraging women to become leaders in their communities and chosen careers was another key focus of 2015. The Government made a number of exciting announcements to progress women in leadership roles, particularly in encouraging more women onto boards and paving the way for more women to be leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) professions. 

29 April

Minister Cash announces a further 40 scholarships for women pursing a board career, in partnership with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

6 October

55 scholarships are awarded to CALD and ATSI women under the Board Diversity Scholarship Programme, aimed at equipping women for leadership roles. 

8 October

Business and Government roundtable is held to discuss how to better support Australian women to attain leadership roles.

19 October

BoardLinks program is strengthened with the announcement of new BoardLinks Champions to help increase the number of women on Government boards.

1 December

Announcement of 16 joint Chief Executive Women scholarships and fellowships to support women’s participation and leadership in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industries.

Women’s Economic security

Women’s economic empowerment and opportunity are essential to ensuring women’s long term economic security. This past year has seen the Government take practical steps to ensuring more women feel confident to enter the workforce and are supported in the workplace once they are there.

25 May

The Government announces a new Women’s Money Toolkit, developed in partnership with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to help women manage their finances and achieve their financial goals.

30 July

Minister Cash launches a website and online resource centre to help overcome discrimination faced by pregnant women in the workplace, and parents at work.

7 December

The Government announces $13 million over five years to encourage women to choose and stay in STEM fields, start-ups and entrepreneurial businesses.

9 December

54 female school students are chosen from across Australia to attend a STEM Summer School.

We congratulate the Office for Women on the advancements that have been made this year, and anticipate an even greater 2016.