Campaign for local government action on women’s health, safety and wellbeing

5 October 2012

In the lead up to the 2012 local government elections the Women’s Health Association of Victoria (WHAV) is urging candidates to make a commitment to women’s health, safety and wellbeing in their local government area. 

Women’s Health West, a member of WHAV, is committed to improving the health, safety and wellbeing of women in western region and we cover Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Melton, Moonee Valley and Wyndham.

During the 2012 October pre-election period, Women’s Health West in partnership with other women’s health services across the state, will ask candidates to commit to Safe, Well and Connected: Victorian Local Government Action Plan for Women’s Health 2012-2016. The plan outlines key actions that newly elected councillors can take to enhance the health and wellbeing of women in their community.

Despite a great deal of progress, Victorian women still face areas of significant social and economic disadvantage that in turn impacts on their health, safety and wellbeing. Violence against women and the economic impact of women’s responsibilities as carers are two such areas.

Convenor of the Women’s Health Association of Victoria, Dr Robyn Gregory, said the campaign is vitally important. ‘For Victorian women under the age of 45, violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and illness.’

‘While pay inequity means women earn an average of 18 per cent less than men in similar positions.’

Women’s health services across Victoria have identified local government as having an important and exciting role to play in improving the social, economic and health status of women in their municipality.

As part of the Safe, Well and Connected plan, councillors are encouraged to ensure adequate and affordable council and community-based childcare and playgroups.

Other actions include partnering with Women’s Health West to develop a regional strategy to prevent violence against women. Councils are also being asked to include strategies and actions dedicated to improving women’s health and wellbeing in their municipal public health and wellbeing plans.

Community members can check which council candidates have committed to women’s health and wellbeing across the western region on Women’s Health West’s website www.whwest.org.au for the period of postal and attendance voting.