The Victorian government has provided nearly $30,000 to a mentorship program that aims to support women who have been elected to their first term on state councils.
Through the Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) Victoria mentorship program, which was launched on International Women’s Day 2021, 43 newly elected female councillors will have the chance to learn from experienced mentors over the next three years.
Local government minister Shaun Leane and minister for women Gabrielle Williams on Thursday said the state government has given ALGWA Victoria $29,000 to continue and expand the mentoring program after its success from 2016 to 2020.
The 43 mentees are among the 272 women elected to council at the 2020 local government elections. The mentors, who are all current or former councillors, will give advice, support, guidance and coaching to help the new councillors develop governance skills and make a difference in their communities.
Leane said that while it was important to have more women on councils, it was just as important to support them once they have been elected.
“The government supports this program because we know it makes a real difference for the next generation of female leaders in local government,” he said.
“This program helps to develop the skills of newly elected councillors, helping them to deliver for their communities.”
Last year’s local government elections saw women represent a total 43.8% of councillors in Victoria — a record high for Australia. The elections followed a state government-funded campaign which had encouraged women to run for council.
The Victorian government hopes to achieve a target of 50% female mayors and councillors by 2025. A new Gender Equality Advisory Committee, led by Labor MPs Juliana Addison and Kat Theophanous, will focus on achieving the target and improving gender equality across the sector, including through the implementation of the Gender Equality Act 2020.
ALGWA Victoria is a standing member of the new committee.