We focus on translating evidence into action; leading to positive change.
Gender equity is the process of being fair to women and men in order to redress inequities in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities, with an overall goal of gender equality.
As a Women’s Health Service, WHWBSW take a gendered approach to our work in health promotion from a feminist framework that aims to address many of the underlying inequities in systems and structures that negatively impact women’s health and wellbeing.
Gender inequality does not impact on all people in the same way. For many women, the impact of gender inequality is compounded by the way that gendered barriers interact with other forms of disadvantage
and discrimination. Aboriginal women, women from culturally diverse communities, women from rural and regional Victoria, women with disabilities and trans and gender diverse individuals all face greater barriers to gender equality (Safe and Strong 2016).
Gender equity approaches recognise that we do not function on a level playing field. In other words, there are historical and social disadvantages that prevent women from benefiting fully from society’s resources (NSW Health Department, 2000). The attributes ascribed to the sexes under the construct of gender
are associated with vastly different outcomes for men and women across the spectrum of the social, economic, cultural and political spheres.
Women and men have different levels of access to power, resources, decision making and this difference disadvantages women.
Gender equality is when everyone is treated equally and given the same resources and supports. Gender equity is where those who are more disadvantaged are given more resources and supports to be able to access the same outcomes as the group who are at a greater advantage already. Gender equity approaches aim to increase the likelihood of gender equality.
Violence against women is now recognised to be a serious and widespread health problem in Australia, with enormous individual and community impacts as well as social costs.
Respect 2040 is a collective movement to bring together community members, businesses, groups, clubs, and organisations across south-west Victoria to work towards a vision for a thriving, equal community.
Violence against women is defined as any act of gender-based violence that causes or could cause physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of harm or coercion, in public or in private life.
As this definition makes clear, violence against women is not only or always physical. It includes psychological, economic, emotional and sexual violence and abuse, and a wide range of controlling, coercive and intimidating behaviours. It affects women in all communities regardless of socio-economic status, culture or race.
This significant social problem is highly prevalent in Australia and around the world, however it is also ultimately preventable.
Key Stats on violence against women in Australia
On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner
1 in 3 Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15.
1 in 4 Australian women has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner. 1 in 5 Australian women has experienced sexual violence.
Current evidence from the national organisation, Our Watch, details four main drivers of violence against women as outlined in their Change the Story Framework: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence.
— Condoning of violence against women
— Men’s control of decision-making and limits to women’s independence in public and private life
— Rigid gender roles and stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity
— Male peer relations that emphasise aggression and disrespect towards women
— As a primary prevention organisation, our work aims to address these drivers in order to prevent violence against women.
WHWBSW are committed to ensuring all women in the BSW region experience good sexual and reproductive health, being a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system
Women deserve to have a satisfying and safe sex life and the capability to reproduce if, when and how often they decide to. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, including experiencing pleasurable and safe sex that is free of coercion, discrimination and violence.
Women residing in regional and rural communities experience inferior access to sexual and reproductive health services then women who live in metro communities. Women in the Barwon South West region face multiple barriers, lack of knowledge and access to services. Barriers that women face include:
Availability access to services locally, including opening times and access in a timely manner.
Travel distance to services and lack of transport e.g. public transport or suitable arrangements.
Cost high costs of services and associated prescriptions(i.e. contraception). Although an issue worldwide, it is amplified for women who need to consider associated costs such as travel and time required to travel.
Privacy individuals feel their needs and choices may be observed and judged, particularly in small communities where people know each other.
Information lack of information and up to date information for both women and medical professionals. Particularly relevant to modern termination services/information and sex education.
Professional attitudes and skills providers may not offer full services for all clients based on their personal skills or attitudes.
Community and client attitudes stigma surrounding those who access services, particularly in communities where people know each other
Lack of service availability can have a negative consequence to women’s sexual and reproductive health. This is amplified for women residing in rural areas, who must travel great distances to access health services.
WHWBSW are committed to fulfilling the Victorian Government’s Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Key Priorities 2017-2021, that are aligned with identified gaps and barriers women face in the BSW region. Our current and future projects aim to bridge these gaps identified, such as:
— Knowledge and accessibility to available services
— Knowledge and access to reproductive choices
— Knowledge and awareness of sexually transmissible infections