The focus of all of our work at GWH is to advance gender equality. While progress in gender equality may be achieved through our work in the prevention of violence against women, family violence system leadershp, cancer support and sexual and reproductive health, it is also achieved through specific strategies that concentrate on issues of gender inequity. Gender equality is the end goal, gender equity is the process of taking into account the different realities and needs of women and men, to attain this goal.
“Gender Equity is the tool to achieve Gender Equality.”
Fiona Owen, CEO, Gippsland Women’s Health
Gender equity is one of three priority areas identified in the Gippsland Women’s Health Integrated Health Promotion Plan 2017 – 2021. The other two priority areas are Prevention of Violence Against Women and Sexual and Reproductive Health.
Advocating for Gender Equity
Aligning with our strategic priority of Lead and Influence, advocacy is an important strategy that we utilise to address gender inequality in Gippsland. Our advocacy activities are highlighted below.
In the lead-up to the last state and federal elections, GWH conducted advocacy campaigns asking for candidates and the community to help us take action for an equal and respectful Gippsland for women. The federal campaign included the development of videos, a brochure and social media messages that highlighted our priorities for government action. Prior to the election, all Gippsland candidates were approached by GWH and were asked to commit to four key priority action areas. We continue to advocate for these priorities at local, state and federal levels.
An important advocacy activity is to research, develop and write submissions for state and national Royal Commissions, inquiries, and for strategy and plan development. With consideration of the unique challenges and needs of women in Gippsland, seven submissions were completed. GWH also collaborated with other women’s health services on specific submissions.
Gippsland Gender Equality Report
GWH is developing a report to identify the unique challenges experienced by women in Gippsland and to highlight areas of gender inequality. The report includes the demographics of women in Gippsland; number of women living in poverty; rates of family violence, sexual offences and stalking, harassment and threatening behaviour; attitudes towards gender-equal relationships; amount of unpaid work completed by women and men; and women in leadership positions. By establishing a benchmark, this report will be a measure by which we can ensure progress is being made towards gender equality.
Health and Wellbeing
It has become increasingly recognised that sex and gender influence people’s health and wellbeing (State of Victoria, 2015). In addition, international research has shown that gender inequality consistently predicts violence against women, with lower rates of violence against women in countries with greater economic, social and political rights for women. The goal of our work in Gender Equity is for all women in Gippsland to enjoy optimal health and wellbeing as a result of an environment that promotes and practices gender equity. Below are some of the projects we have completed and are working on.
Local Government Gender Analysis Toolkit
Gippsland Women’s Health have worked with Latrobe City Council on a project to develop a Local Government Gender Analysis Toolkit, with support from the Victorian Government and Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV). The Toolkit is designed to assist local governments to deliver programs and services in an equitable way to meet the needs of both women and men from diverse backgrounds. You can access it here. Background information on the project may be located here.
Consisting of separate tools, the Toolkit covers such diverse areas as: programs and services, events, communication, community engagement, emergency management, grants, infrastructure and planning and venue hire.
Other local government gender equity resources and tools may be accessed in MAV’s Promising Practice Portal.
Paving the Way
Our past work has included building on the work of the Paving the Way project to build the capacity of councils and organisations to address workplace gender inequalities.
Paving the Way is a project that was led by Gippsland Women’s Health from 2012 until 2016 as part of the Gippsland Regional Strategy to Prevent Men’s Violence against Women and their Children. The focus of the project was to increase the capacity of organisations to achieve gender equitable access to workplace resources and opportunities, respond to and support employees experiencing family violence, and create a workplace environment that does not tolerate attitudinal support for men’s violence against women. Gippsland Women’s Health worked with partner organisations to complete the project.
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Gippsland Women’s Health is NOT a crisis centre. If you are in a violent situation, know someone who is experiencing violence, or know someone who is using violence, please refer to the key contacts listed here.