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Being Equal: Gender Equality and Respect in Early Learning Services


In 2018 the Health Promotion Team at Star Health identified a gap in the provision of support for early learning services to take a whole-of-service approach to promoting gender equity and respect.

In response, Star Health partnered with five early childhood services across Port Phillip and Stonnington, to pilot the initiative Being Equal: a two-year, whole-of-service approach to ensuring children attending early childhood services experience more respectful relationships and less rigid gender stereotypes. 

Being Equal’s model for change was based on the Respectful Relationships in schools model. This whole-of-service approach recognises that change must go beyond training and curriculum, and needs to be embedded in policy practice, procedures, staffing, environment, leadership, and culture. 

The program follows a continuous improvement cycle that focuses on six benchmark areas, including culture and environment, community partnerships and support for staff and families impacted by family violence. The evaluation of the pilot program highlighted considerable progress towards embedding changes across all benchmark areas and, that this led to changes in the experiences of educators and children. A further seven services enrolled in the program in 2020.  

“As Centre Coordinator I have observed more conversations challenging gender stereotypes between educators; and educators and children. Our culture has changed to a more learning and supportive one where we are more comfortable to explore these issues.” 

Our partners: Bubup Womindjeka Family and Children’s Centre, Clarendon Children’s Centre, Coventry Children’s Centre, Renown Kindergarten and Windsor Community Children’s Centre. 

You can read the Star Health Being Equal Evaluation Report 2021 and the Star Health Being Equal Case Studies

Star Health’s Health Promotion Officers Danielle McCaffrey and Sally Rossiter led the planning and implementation of the Being Equal pilot program. The evaluation report was compiled by Tara Kelly and Amie Bast. 

We have been announced as a finalist in the Victorian Early Years Awards (VEYA) 

You can contact the Health Promotion Team at E: