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News and Events

Vale Peter Crowley

Women’s Health West mourns the passing of Peter Crowley, a key partner in our Preventing Violence Together Partnership up until his retirement from Moonee Valley City Council last year. We celebrate his life and his ongoing commitment as an ally in equity and justice for women and communities across the west. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues. Vale Peter.

Increased Funding for Prevention, Mental Health & Wellbeing

We welcome the Victorian Government’s announcement to increase funding to the women’s health sector to respond to this public health crisis, and continue our work around mental health and wellbeing, and the prevention of family violence.

This funding is crucial at this time, as it ensures that people experiencing family violence or hardship can continue to access support services at this difficult time.

Minister for Prevention of Family Violence, Gabrielle Williams, announced that the 12 women’s health services, including Women’s Health West, will each receive $250 000 over the next two years to continue our work to prevent family violence.

We are also pleased to be receiving a share of $600,000 to support new mental health and wellbeing initiatives. This pandemic presents significant risk factors for women’s mental health and wellbeing, including stress, anxiety and depression caused by isolation, financial insecurity and balancing work with increased care responsibilities.

This funding allow will enable Women’s Health West to continue to keep women and children in our community safe, support our work to prevent family violence before it occurs, as well as expand our mental health and wellbeing activities.

See the full media release here.

Hear Our Stories – International Women’s Day Event

The participants of Women’s Health West’s ‘Lead On Again’ program held their International Women’s day event ‘Hear Our Stories’ last month.

The participants, who are all young women with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, shared their stories and experiences of seeking employment in Australia.

It was a really moving event as the young women described the racism, discrimination and many barriers they’ve encountered while looking for work in Australia.

Some of the young women spoke of the ease in which they were able to secure employment in their home countries – as dental assistants, or a manager of an entire dental clinic – but this experience was dismissed by employers in Australia. Others spoke of the effects workplace racism and how this can really shake someone’s self-confidence, particularly as a young woman of colour.

The young women had everyone in the audience laughing one moment, and holding back tears the next. The audience was encouraged to reflect on the ways we can all be good allies, and shared their pledge to support young women of colour to pursue employment in Australia.

A real highlight of the night was the fashion show! The young women each wore their cultural or tradition clothing, and explained the cultural significance and symbolism of their attire. For some, it was the first time they had had the opportunity to wear their cultural dress since arriving in Australia.

Lead On Again is a leadership program for young, multicultural women in the West. We run the program each year, and the International Women’s day event is a significant part of their leadership journey, which the young women plan and deliver themselves.

More information about Lead on Again.

COVID-19 and Women’s Health West’s services

Women’s Health West is continuing to deliver essential services to women and children who experience family violence during the COVID-19 health emergency. We remain open and will continue to provide our family violence services. As well as this, we will continue to follow up referrals received from Victoria Police following incidents of family violence. 

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Victorian Parliament passes historic Gender Equality Bill

On Friday, 21 February 2020 the Victorian Government made history, passing the Gender Equality Bill. First introduced to Parliament in November 2019, the Bill aims to improve gender equality across the public sector, universities and local councils.

The passing of this Bill is significant because of its greater impact on the rights of women and other marginalised communities in Victoria. As the Bill states, ‘all human beings, regardless of gender, should be free to develop their personal abilities, pursue their professional careers and make choices about their lives without being limited by gender stereotypes, gender roles or prejudices.’

What does the Bill aim to do?

In understanding the purpose of this Bill, we need to look at what it really means when it states ‘gender equality’ and question who will it be protecting?

When we think gender equality, we tend to think of equal rights for women and girls. However, this Bill states that ‘gender equality benefits all Victorians regardless of gender.’ It also recognises that gender inequality is linked to other forms of disadvantage and/or discrimination a person may experience based on ethnicity, age, ability,  gender identity, race, religion and sexual orientation.

By identifying these often intersecting forms of discrimination, the Bill then aims to eliminate the systemic causes of gender inequality in policy, programs and delivery of services in workplaces and communities.

Who does the Bill apply to?

The Bill applies to the following organisations:

  • public service bodies
  • public entities
  • local government
  • universities
  • Court Services Victoria
  • the Office of Public Prosecutions special bodies
  • local government and
  • universities

From this list, it means that there are over 300 organisations that will be covered by the bill.

How will these organisations/entities be held accountable?

As well as requiring organisations to provide reports on having met specified targets and quotas, an independent body will be established (known as the Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner). It will be the responsibility of the Commissioner to ensure that the requirements and outcomes of the Bill are being met. 

For more information and to view the Bill please visit the Victorian government website: https://www.vic.gov.au/gender-equality-bill