Shared understandings

Women’s Health West guide to health promotion and gender equity

It is well established that health and wellbeing are influenced by a complex interplay of biological, psychological and social determinants. To improve the health of individuals, communities, and societies as a whole, we need to look beyond what it takes to respond to illness and develop shared understandings on what it means to prevent harm and illness from occurring.

This guide to gender equity and health promotion provides clear and consistent language in key definitions, conceptual frameworks and supporting data relating to gender equity, upstream health promotion and the social determinants of health. Its purpose is to highlight the need for health promotion actions that are sensitive to the social, political and economic conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age.

For example, women and men may seem to have all the same formal opportunities, but the unequal status of women in our community causes many to experience significant disadvantage, impacting on their safety and their physical, mental and social health and wellbeing. As a women’s health organisation, responding to the different needs and experiences of women and men is a core part of our work to redress gender equity and achieve the best possible outcomes for women’s health and wellbeing.

Though we recognise that language we use, like the evidence that we draw from, is always changing and evolving, it is still important to reflect on common definitions, to ensure that as an organisation we are making conscious choices in our use of language. In this way, we aim to build a case for the work led by women’s health services, and to share this expertise with partners, whose work across diverse sectors is essential to delivering equitable health outcomes.

Shared understandings