Women comprise approximately half the population and have different health and wellbeing needs from men. It would appear that women and men have all the same formal opportunities. However, the unequal status of women in our community causes many to experience significant disadvantage, impacting on their physical, mental and social health, safety and wellbeing. To support women’s health, safety and wellbeing, and to recognise and respond to men and women’s different needs, it is imperative that councils adopt a gendered approach to municipal public health and wellbeing planning, program and service provision.
Public health planning and program and service delivery that take a gender equity approach recognise that women and girls experience different and often heightened risk factors for poor health compared to men and boys. This is the result of structural and social factors that continue to marginalise women and girls, such as the unequal distribution of power and resources between women and men, and rigid gender stereotypes and norms that assign women and men to certain areas of responsibility in society. These factors intersect with the social determinants of health, such as decision-making power, income, employment, education and housing, which compound the disadvantage experienced by women and girls.
To help local government with their important role in supporting and promoting women’s health, safety and wellbeing, we have developed a series of gendered analysis fact sheets that highlight the needs of women in the municipalities of Melbourne’s west. These are designed to help councils in developing their municipal public health plans.