GenWest has submitted an application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a temporary exemption for two years from the provisions of the Equal Opportunity Act (the Act).
The exemption refers to who we can employ at GenWest. We previously had an exemption under the Act to employ ‘only women or people of a particular cultural background’.
The new exemption stipulates that we can employ women and people of diverse gender identities. This includes non-binary and gender diverse people who have been discriminated against or oppressed because of their gender identity.
There are instances where GenWest may not need to apply the exemption, for example when program needs do not align with it.
Being able to apply the exemption when needed means we are able to uphold our feminist purpose and goals of gender equity in a contemporary way, while moving beyond the gender binary.
The current application is for a temporary exemption for 24 months only, while GenWest further refines its service offering.
Why is this important?
In September 2021, GenWest’s members voted overwhelmingly in favour of changing the organisation’s name from Women’s Health West to GenWest and for expansion of our client and member cohorts.
The rebrand was a historic moment for the organisation, our feminism and for the communities we seek to serve. It reflects the significant changes occurring across the sector and in communities across the west.
Expanding our staff and member cohort through this exemption takes us one step closer to becoming a more accessible, inclusive and diverse organisation.
GenWest at its core is a feminist organisation. Feminism was central to our beginning, is at the core of how we work today, and will continue to guide and drive us in the future.
The lived experiences of women (including cis and trans women) and gender diverse people continue to guide our work. Our service, and our staff group, need to reflect the communities we work with, which is why it’s so important this exemption supports this.
The application for the exemption will support GenWest’s ability to maintain a community-based women’s health service run, and informed by, diverse groups of women and gender diverse people.
The exemption will support us to create an environment that is safe, accessible, non-threatening and comfortable, and where confidentiality, safety and respect are the highest priority.
Important notice from VCAT
We are required by VCAT to publish the attached notice, which you can download below.