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Organisational development

2 minutes

Organisational development involves promoting positive organisational structures and cultures, based on respect and equality between women and men. Because of the influence that workplaces can have on the wider community, these activities can have a significant impact.  

Organisational development is an essential activity for organisations wishing to undertake prevention work with external stakeholders or communities. Critically reflecting on their own organisation is an important first step to ensure the organisation has the appropriate structures, norms and practices in place to do the work effectively.  

Organisational development can include a large range of actions depending on the context and the resources available. 

Types of organisational development activity

Awareness raising campaigns

Increase awareness about the prevalence of violence against women, its drivers and the actions that organisations and individuals can take to prevent it.

Codes of conduct

Set standards of behaviour expected within the organisation, and provide guidance about steps people can take to eliminate discrimination and sexual harassment.

Organisational gender audits

Identify the structural aspects of gender inequality in the organisation, such as pay gaps, women’s representation in management positions and availability of flexible working conditions.

Gender equality strategies

Use the findings from an organisational gender audit to develop an organisational gender equality policy. Strategies may include actions such as developing remuneration and retention policies that address barriers for women.

Organisational cultural audits

Assess an organisation’s cultural awareness and understanding and inform actions to promote cultural awareness, such as developing a Reconciliation Action Plan.


Identifies, promotes and normalises gender equality as part of organisational culture.

Leadership workshops

Address additional barriers to gender equality, such as gender bias in decision-making.

Good practice principles

  • During initial consultations, determine the organisation’s readiness and willingness to participate. Ensure senior leaders are committed to prevention and know how to create an authorising environment. 
  • Avoid one-off activity and establish a long-term commitment of resources and effort. 
  • Take a whole-of-organisation approach, using strategies across multiple levels of the organisation, so that change is reinforced. 
  • Build knowledge and skills in the organisation, as well as formal structures or practices, that support and encourage gender equality. 
  • Ensure staff delivering actions have access to quality training and support, and regular opportunities to build their confidence and skills. 
  • Tailor organisational development initiatives to the specific context of the organisation, as well as the wider context of the community you are working in. 
  • Align work with other prevention initiatives in the community or setting to provide consistent messages on gender equality and ending violence against women. 
Stylised illustration of a woman sitting at a desk in a work or study scene. They are reading a green book.

Tools and process for organisational change

Experience and findings about organisational approaches to prevent violence against women