Strategic Plan 

2021 — 25

Our vision 

Rural and regional women of all ages have optimal health and wellbeing.

Our purpose 

We are a feminist organisation leading change towards gender equality to improve women’s health, wellbeing and safety in rural and regional Victoria.

Our principles –

  • We work within an evolving feminist framework to advance the goal of gender equality.
  • We recognise, listen to, and amplify the voices of under-served rural and regional women within our communities.
  • We believe in collaboration that drives mutual benefit and a shared purpose.
  • We believe in evidence-informed decisions and actions.
  • Our work is intersectional, inclusive and forward-moving, and we recognise the significant contribution, self-determination and wisdom of First Nations communities.
  • We advance our work by addressing structural inequities, with the understanding that what benefits women at the margins, benefits all members of the community.

Our strategy –

Our role

We drive systemic change by

We seek to understand women’s experiences and priorities, and identify the emerging and pressing issues.

We provide the context and the platform from which our communities share their stories.

We conduct, coordinate and collate research to develop the evidence base, which we share widely.

We engage and inspire our partners through a capacity building approach that strengthens their knowledge and skills.

Our impact areas

We recognise that our impact areas are interconnected —

Change in one space can impact and influence another area.
Our impact areas are integral to women’s health, wellbeing and safety, and ultimately achieving gender equality.

We commit to:
  • Annually reviewing the definition, elements and priorities of our practice to ensure we have the greatest possible relevance and impact at systemic and structural levels.
  • Supporting community advocacy through capacity building.
  • Advocating independently and across the women’s health state-wide network through policy analysis, position papers and government submissions to propel systemic change.
  • Conducting and sharing an analysis of COVID-19’s effects on gender justice in a rural and regional context, and implementing the recommendations of the analysis with a focus on economic empowerment.
  • Driving significant change in the mental health system, including responding to and supporting the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System relating to primary prevention.
  • Working collaboratively under our transformational change model to embed best practice as it relates to the prevention of gender-based violence.
We will track

+ Community capability to advocate
+ Individual and collective policy submissions
+ Gender justice and equality outcomes

We commit to:
  • Ongoing consultation with priority groups of women to identify and better support their sexual and reproductive health needs. This will include co-design projects in which women inform and guide our decision-making.
  • Continuing to meaningfully engage and collaborate with our key stakeholders and trusted partners in sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) at regional and state-wide levels.
  • Undertaking research on reproductive coercion and integrating the findings with regional SRHR and prevention of gender-based violence initiatives.
  • Advocating for the adoption of sex-positive sexuality and consent education in schools within the region.
  • Showcasing best-practice SRHR initiatives focused on gender rights and justice so that partners and other key stakeholders can easily replicate and roll out these initiatives.
We will track

+ Extent and quality of our consultation and co-design with women
+ Number of partners with SRHR as an identified priority
+ Positive policy change in SRHR

We commit to:
  • Providing a rural and gendered lens on climate change impacts by undertaking research, collecting evidence, and using this to inform local and state-wide policy and practice.
  • Developing position statements that support gendered climate change policies, which focus on marginalised, oppressed and gender-diverse individuals.
  • Engaging in advocacy initiatives that demand the government act on climate change.
  • Ensuring that the diversity of rural and regional voices are included in the climate change narrative.
  • Building on the research and evidence produced by our Gender and Disaster Pod initiative to ensure that it is embedded into regional recovery, planning and mitigation initiatives.
We will track

+ Number of partners with a gender lens to their climate commitment
+ Quantity and quality of climate justice initiatives we’ve supported
+ Number of research projects and policy submissions

Our organisational priorities 

We commit to:
  • Developing a partnership and consultation plan, including an audit of our current partnerships and networks, to establish strategic alignment and ensure we are collaborating effectively and impactfully.
  • Strengthening our partnerships with First Nations organisations and communities, acknowledging that our work is conducted on land that belongs to them.
  • Refining our transformational change pathway, including developing online offerings and a bank of best practice approaches, to embed gender-transformative practice across our region.
  • Reviewing and building on our external communications to reach new audience groups and increase awareness, understanding and action.
  • Contributing to a cross-sector community of practice in our region that is dedicated to gender equality.
  • Meaningfully collaborating at a state-wide level with the other women’s health services, all levels of government, peak bodies and other relevant associations.
We will track

+ Quantity and quality of our training and partnerships
+ Media coverage and WHGNE audience
+ Our participation and role in networks

We commit to:
  • Continuing to define and embed our principles, including feminist practice, within our team and organisation. This is about modelling the transformational change we wish to see in our communities.
  • Ensuring the team feels valued, inspired and supported by celebrating our successes, providing opportunities for collaboration and connection, and seeking and responding to their feedback on key priorities and challenges.
  • Representing diverse voices and experiences (e.g. skills, life experiences, geography, demographics) through our team, board and partnerships.
  • Undertaking a skills, network and gap analysis of our team, to ensure that they are supported to increase their knowledge, confidence and capabilities through appropriate training.
  • Encouraging and supporting our team and board to lead, advocate and publicly speak on gender equality and women’s health, wellbeing and safety.
  • Embedding our organisational cultural safety plan, and developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) as part of our continued commitment to First Nations people and communities.
We will track

+ Satisfaction and retention rates of our team and board
+ Representation of diverse women in our team, board and partnerships
+ Status of our principles, cultural safety plan and RAP

We commit to:
  • Ensuring that our funding provides us with the flexibility to drive our thought leadership practice, undertake innovative and disruptive work, including research in emerging issues.
  • Advocating for our work, and by extension all women’s work, to be valued and remunerated appropriately thereby reducing the gender-pay gap.
  • Developing a plan for environmental sustainability and regeneration, including becoming a carbon-neutral organisation.
  • Enhancing our approach to learning and professional development, including developing an organisational training strategy and utilising learning management software.
  • Regularly reviewing and improving our organisational and governance policies, practices and processes.
  • Providing outcomes-focused, financial and organisational reporting in a user-friendly way that clearly identifies our result compared with our budget.
We will track

+ Financial performance compared with our budgets and organisational goals
+ Extent of our carbon emissions
+ Frequency of policy review and updates

Download our Strategic Plan 2021-25 here