COTA Victoria wishes to highlight the impact of gender inequality on older women. The inequities created for older women by the legacy of a lifetime of inequality needs to be addressed in the Victorian Gender Equality Bill. Older Victorians make up a very significant and growing proportion of Victorian citizens, more than 20% of the
population, and should not remain invisible. Further COTA wishes to draw attention to the fact that sexism and ageism cannot be separated as barriers to education, employment and career opportunities for women over the age of 50. Age discrimination is experienced in the workforce and in access to housing and services. We believe the Guiding Principles should include reference to age and the prevention of age discrimination within organisations. It should be a target in the Action Plans and measured.
COTA believes that gender equality is a fundamental human right. A human rights approach to gender equality will also consider related human rights such as rights to housing and services which underpin equality. COTA supports the achievement of gender equality by legislation and believes that this will bring Victoria into line with other countries that value human rights. It will give the ability to demand accountability, measure impacts and outcomes and demonstrate the positive economic and social impacts of gender equality for all Victorians.