Victorian Women’s Health Services release combined statement to mark International Women’s Day – Gender Equality is at a crossroad

Women's Health Services Network

To mark International Women’s Day, the CEO’s and Chairs of all 12 Women’s Health Services across Victoria have released a statement reinforcing the importance of the global and local themes for the day.

“The United Nation’s themes for International Women’s Day resonate so deeply for all the Women’s Health Services,” said Tricia Currie, CEO of Women’s Health Loddon Mallee and Chair of the Women’s Health Services Network.

“Every single day our staff see the negative impacts of women’s persistent economic exclusion from our society and economy because their social determinants are not being supported.”

The Victorian Women’s Health Services stand behind the United Nations’ assessment that gender equality is at a critical juncture. As International Women’s Day approaches, with its focus on the theme of Investing in Women to Accelerate Progress, the sector advocates for increased investment in gender equality initiatives. Despite overwhelming evidence of the substantial benefits for communities, businesses, and governments, more action is needed to ensure progress.

“As the statement says it is really important that we address the challenges where they lie – with the systems and structures of our economy and society – not continuously try to ‘fix women’,” said Ms Currie.

“The work of equality has become women’s work and as we know when work is predominantly undertaken by women it is devalued and under resourced. The release of the WGEA pay gap data just reinforces again decades of evidence about this fact.”

The Chairs and CEO’s of the Victorian Women’s Health sector are calling upon governments across Australia to rise to the moment and invest in women’s equality and economic inclusion.

The sector is calling upon the Victorian State Government to maintain and sustain the current levels of funding for all of the Women’s Health Services. The sector is also reiterating those calls for action that they have previously argued for over the past year including the 2023 State Budget. These include:

  • Strengthen long-term policies for women’s health and well-being, addressing social determinants, and allocate resources to cater to diverse community needs.
  • Expand gender-based budgeting policies and extend the Gender Equality Act to non-government organisations.
  • Ensure that all public hospitals and publicly funded health institutions apply an intersectional lens to their programs and services with a particular focus on the gendered impacts to those programs and services. This includes all health services that are in receipt of public funds to provide full evidence-based services and referral to women including sexual and reproductive health
  • Invest in specialised infrastructure for women’s mental health to ensure access and promote healthy living for all women, regardless of their backgrounds.

About us:

The Women’s Health Services Network has been a driving force progressing and shaping Victoria’s women’s health and equality space for four decades. While our services were established and funded independently of one another, collaboration has been a strong part of our history. Today, the 12 women’s health services funded through the state government’s Victorian Women’s Health Program operate under the title the ‘Victorian Women’s Health Services Network’. This enables us to work as a coordinated, mutually-reinforcing statewide network comprising both place-based and specialist services.

/Public Release.