In an historic first, Our Watch, a national leader in the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia, is partnering with Victoria University (VU) to help address systemic issues around gender inequality and violence.
This strategic five-year partnership, the first of its kind within the higher and vocational education sectors, reflects the professional respect between both organisations. The partnership recognizes that universities are in the position to educate for equality and create much needed change.
Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly said, “Our Watch recognizes VU’s long term commitment to addressing gender inequality and violence against women on a community, organizational and national level. This partnership is the first of its kind to embed intersectional gender equality and it will continue meaningful changes at VU and the communities they work with. To achieve our mission, we need as many people and organizations as possible addressing the drivers of gender-based violence. This partnership will allow VU to reach into their large workforce, student body and community, increasing the reach of violence prevention work. We are also excited to be sharing the learnings and evidence with universities and tertiary education institutions across Australia.
“VU has an outstanding number of programs and initiatives that are tangible and measurable and as a result, have made meaningful progress towards gender equity for women and non-binary/gender diverse people. Diversity is a key pillar of these programs, with a particular focus on First Nations communities, communities of colour, new and emerging communities, people with disabilities and the LGBTQIA+ community. We are looking forward to continuing this important work with VU.”
Victoria University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker said the partnership will establish VU as a global gender and diversity equality research leader.
“The issues of gender-based sexual harassment and violence are some of the most significant of our generation. We firmly believe that universities like our own can be part of the solution.
“At VU, we demonstrate our care with action. We have already embedded gender equality within our values, structures, programs and curriculum. Our partnership with Our Watch, and its Educating for Equality program, will take this even more clearly into the public arena of reform and radical improvement.
“Together, we will make meaningful, material changes in the lives of our colleagues, students, the communities we serve in the west of Melbourne and beyond. The time for change is now.”
The partnership aims to:
- implement Educating for Equality and Respect and Equality in TAFE specifically integrating both approaches within VU as a dual sector institution
- fund a monitoring and developmental evaluation approach throughout the partnership
- share evidence and learnings across the higher education and vocational education sector
- engage in structural, material and cultural de-colonization practices in parallel with, informed by, and accountable to First Nations students, staff and community.
The inaugural collaboration builds on existing work and recognition VU has undertaken including the VU 2022 Action Plan in response to National Student Safety Survey, VU Gender Equality Action Plan, Building Respectful Futures Strategy, and receiving the WGEA Employer of Choice, Gender Equality Citation.
VU student and Cultural Diversity Officer Shiva Foroutan said, “Higher education is an incredibly important period for change in a person’s life and attitudes. The efforts that VU has put towards these causes are building blocks for actions that students can take towards gender equality throughout their lives.”
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