Leadership and workforce participation

Greater participation of women in the workforce and in leadership positions means a stronger economy for everyone. Gender equity is important in the workplace to reduce discrimination, protect women’s rights and improve representation in male dominated areas and leadership positions.

Women’s participation in the workforce is currently at its highest ever level, however women continue to face disadvantage and discrimination at work. Women continue to be paid less and are under-represented in business ownership and in traditionally male dominated areas. Women are over-represented in part‑time and casual work and under‑represented in full-time work. This means women have less secure employment and less savings at retirement compared to men.

Access to flexible work for people of all genders is needed for more equitable sharing of the unpaid workload. We want to know how we can provide better opportunities in the workplace for everyone.

The impact of the pandemic was significant for women who were more likely than men to lose jobs and hours during the lockdowns. Recovery from the impacts of the COVID recession on women’s participation and economic security will be required for years to come.

What is the ACT Government already doing to promote gender equitable workplaces?

The ACT Government delivers a range of programs and initiatives to provide women with education, mentoring and networking opportunities, to enhance their leadership skills and ensure workplaces are safer and more inclusive for women.


Supporting Women in Construction

The Women in Trades Grants project is assisting women wanting to take up a trade.

The Understanding Building and Construction Pilot Program, is supporting young women in high school gain experience and understanding of building and construction industry and career pathways.

A 10% target for the proportion of women employed in the construction industry in the ACT.

The Industry Coordination Project, focuses on retaining women in the construction industry by improving male-dominated culture and building respectful relationships in the workplace.

Continued investment for free access to public preschool
Increased support for children to attend preschool will reduce time spent caring for children at home, which disproportionately affects women, and supports women to re-enter the workforce.

Audrey Fagan Programs

Includes programs to help women gain confidence, enhance leadership skills, improve public speaking skills and take on board positions.

Also includes grants for girls, young women, non-binary and gender diverse young people aged 12 to 18 years to develop a project to assist them in achieving their goals.
Return to Work program

An ACT Government initiative that assists women to achieve increased financial independence by helping them prepare for, obtain and maintain employment.

The program is targeted at supporting ACT women looking to re-enter the workplace who face additional barriers to employment and training opportunities.

Individual grants up to $1,000 to support women in returning to work after a period of absence. The grants provide funding to overcome barriers in returning to the workforce, such as training and education, developing job search skills, accessing resources and mentoring.

Support for female entrepreneurs through the Canberra Innovation Network
Provides information and enhanced support for women entrepreneurs in the ACT.
Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program
Fosters knowledge and opportunities for girls and young women in school STEM programs to prepare them for potential tertiary education and careers in this traditionally male dominated industry.


How can we make Canberra workplaces more equitable for women?

The ACT Government is continuing to foster greater employment opportunities for women and girls and supporting workplaces to be gender equitable, but there is more work to be done.

If you have ideas about how we can make how to create greater work opportunities for women, have your say by completing the survey.