Freedom from racism is a social determinant of health that affects victims’ safety, identity, self-confidence and self-worth, and their experience of health care and treatment. Racism is a social prejudice whose causes are often considered too difficult to combat. As a result, anti-racism strategies can be targeted at those affected rather than perpetrators.
This action research explores:
- Safe ways to discuss and define racism
- Forms of institutional racism that exist and how racism affects women living and working in the western region of Melbourne
- Strategies that can assist us to unravel racism itself
The project aims to produce tools and strategies to act against racism, helping us to acknowledge the forms in which racism exists, to understand its effects and the ways we can reduce its prevalence.
This research project is informed by the VicHealth framework ‘Building on our strengths’ and uses qualitative research methods including interviews with individuals and groups. We have conducted three workshops with Women’s Health West staff, regional service providers and community women. This work has revealed the need to establish safe ways to discuss racism and to develop strategies to effect change in professional practice and within the community more broadly.
I found the workshop really valuable and thought-provoking. It was a great achievement to create a safe space to dissect our own attitudes and prejudices. By exploring ways of defining and debunking racist thoughts and behaviours it was easier to imagine a world without racism. An excellent experience! Staff participant
When people are free to examine the ways that racism is manifested, without fear of reprisal or judgment, exciting things can happen toward eradicating racism. The results of this research will be documented and distributed broadly in an effort to inform thinking about racism, the development of anti racism work across the region and affect individual practice generally.
Women’s Health West is a proud supporter of the Australian Human Rights Commission campaign to put an end to racism.