Women’s Health Services counteract gendered health inequities by ensuring Victorian women have access to tailored, gendered multilingual health information with which to navigate healthcare choices across the Victorian health system. WHS also work to address the underlying systemic causes of women’s ill-health.
We focus our services in the areas of health promotion of women’s health and wellbeing to respond to the social determinants that intersect with gender and lead to poor health outcomes for women.
Victoria’s Women’s Health Services:
• provide a statewide infrastructure to promote Victorian women’s wellbeing
• promote good health and wellbeing to Victorian women
• apply an expert intersectional gendered lens to health issues and systems to improve outcomes for women.
• prevent the underlying causes of ill-health and harm for women in Victoria.
Since 1988, Women’s Health Services (WHS) have been fundamental infrastructure in the provision of preventative health measures in Victoria, delivering projects, programs and services to 50.9 per cent of the population. But the history of Women’s Health Services goes much further back, with origins in the women’s equality movements of the 1970’s, when health information was delivered through grassroots consciousness raising. The first women’s health service, now the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, was established in 1978 to provide peer, bilingual health education to migrant women.
Today, Women’s Health Services are centres of excellence in gendered health promotion and prevention, winning awards for their innovations and achievements. But despite decades of policy and health reform success that has made the lives of Victorian women safer and stronger, they remain small, dedicated but undervalued services. Women’s Health Services funded under the Victorian women’s health program have not received an increase in core funding since their establishment in 1988 – and, in fact, received a five per cent funding cut in in 2012-13. This is despite exponential population growth, particularly in the outer suburbs of metropolitan Melbourne.
Read the Women’s Health Services priorities for 2021 to 2024, including the submission to the Victorian State Government for the 2021/22 budget.