Why we exist
Women’s Health Services exist to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of all women in Victoria. We do this through integrated health promotion activities that range from health education and information to organisational capacity building and policy and legislative reform.
We take a social view of health and tackle socio-economic determinants in order to generate positive outcomes for the women we serve. We believe that one of the main causes of women’s ill-health is their inequality relative to men – the different status between women and men due to their unequal access to power, prestige and resources.
We are in the business of gender equity. We want all women to have the same opportunities as men and not be discriminated against because of their gender. Our work occurs in a coordinated manner with individuals, organisations, communities and society – in other words, right across the spectrum of social life (or the social ecology). As a collective, we have statewide reach, regional focus and specialist expertise on gender equity.
Experience, expertise and leadership in primary prevention
Our experience and expertise in gender equity means we are well placed to lead regional action on preventing violence against women. Evidence shows that men’s violence against women, like so many other health problems experienced by women, has its roots in the unequal distribution of power and resources between women and men, and an adherence to rigidly defined gender roles. This places gender equity at the heart of primary prevention and makes it a core principle of our work in leading regional action on preventing violence against women.
Preventing violence against women is currently an integrated health promotion priority for all nine Women’s Health Services and the three statewide services – Women’s Health Victoria, Women with Disabilities Victoria and Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health. For a number of years we have successfully led action on primary prevention at the regional level through evidence-based strategies or action plans developed with partners. Our efforts have taken us to many settings where people live, work and learn, and have enabled us to bring along diverse sectors such as business, government, media and education.