Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE) joins with all of the Women’s Health Sector to ask the Victorian Government to continue its progress on gender responsive budgeting and follow through on its commitments to “give women’s health the focus and funding it deserves,” (15 Nov 2022, Media Release, The Hon. Daniel Andrews) in the upcoming State Budget.

“As the only state infrastructure that delivers specialist expertise on intersectional gender equity for our health system – both regionally and state-wide – we are in a unique position to understand what investment and services are required to ensure that all Victorians are well,” said Kit McMahon, CEO WHISE.

“We know that successful, thriving, and well-resourced public health systems invest in health promotion, as well as clinical services to address illness. By sustaining this investment over time, governments can strategically and practically reduce the pressure on our vastly overstretched public health system.”

In the State Budget 2023, WHISE and all Women’s Health Services, will be expecting investment from the Victorian Government that:

  • Promotes primary prevention and health promotion for all Victorians.
  • Delivers to all women and girls in Victoria, access to safe and high quality sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion healthcare, across the life course.
  • Delivers investment in culturally safe, gender equitable mental healthcare and investment in the primary prevention of mental illness for women and girls.
  • Invests in health services and programs based on data and evidence to address a broad range of women’s health issues.

“We are recognised as an integral part of our state’s health system. The 2023 budget presents the opportunity for Government to sustain investment in primary prevention and make strides towards longer term change and address, generations of inequitable health outcomes for women and delivers ongoing to social and economic benefits,” said McMahon.

“Prevention investment lowers healthcare costs and, reduces the costs to the economy associated with premature death and years spent in ill health.

“For our own region we know that a truly gender equitable health system means that women in our region can get the access to services that they need when they need it, and, the lived experience of all women is taken into consideration when designing all health interventions – from primary prevention through to clinical interventions.

“We look forward to working with the State Government to ensure that its goals for equitable health and wellbeing for all Victorians is realised.”

Read the full statement from the Victorian Women’s Health Services.

Key Statistics and Information

Evidence submitted by the Women’s Health Services to the State Government in 2022 based on Australian Social Values Bank shows that for every $1 of primary prevention investment in the women’s health sector, the return on investment if $468.00 to the community in value.

Within our own region, women face a unique set of challenges driven by inequality. For instance in our region women:

  • Have higher rates of mental illness than men and higher lifetime rates of self harm than males (11.4% compared to 6.2%)
  • Have persistent and higher rates of family violence perpetrated against women compared to the rest of Victoria
  • Are below the Victorian state average for seeking out long term reproductive control (LARC)
  • Overwhelmingly carry the burden of care and unpaid work in our community
  • Detailed information on the experience of women in the Southern Metropolitan Region can be found on the WHISE website

Who are the Women’s Health Services

The Victorian Women’s Health Services work collaboratively to lead and coordinate best practice health promotion across Victoria. We are a crucial conduit between population-level strategies and community-level action and are a vital part of the Victorian Public Health infrastructure. We have a unique role as we are specialists in ensuring that health services and programs are gender equitable.

The Victorian Women’s Health Services have been at the forefront of gender equity, improving women’s health and wellbeing and addressing intersecting forms of discrimination and oppression in our community for over 40 years.  Victoria’s women’s health sector grew out of the dire need to put women’s health, equality, and safety in the public health spotlight – work that continues to this day.

Over the years, the role of the women’s health sector and our place within the Victorian landscape has evolved from provision of information and clinical services through to state leaders in best practice health promotion. We have helped expand the scope of the state’s health agenda to include preventative public health alongside clinical services, bringing the current VWHP priority issues into policy and programmatic focus through our evidence-building and advocacy.

Today, our role extends across the following fields of expertise:

  • Testing innovation and promising practice
  • Research and evidence-building, including monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment.
  • Bilingual health education
  • Workforce development
  • Sector and settings capacity-building, including public and private sectors, and community.
  • Policy and advocacy
  • Regional coordination and state-wide movement-building.

Who is WHISE?

Women’s Health in the South East  is the regional women’s health promotion, advocacy and support service for the Southern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne.

WHISE provides health information, health promotion and education to the female community and health professionals. We assist women, particularly those who are significantly disadvantaged, to access services that they need – our own services, or those of our service partners. We advocate for improved health services, and we encourage women to take more effective control of their health and well-being.

WHISE is a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on empowering women. We work to improve the health and well-being of women in our region by providing health information and education to governments, organisations, education providers, and community groups.

Our region extends from Cardinia Shire and Casey into Stonnington, Port Phillip, and out to the Mornington Peninsula. Our region includes Dandenong, Frankston, South Yarra as well as Pakenham, Narre Warren and St Kilda.

Our team of health promotion professionals work to promote gender equality, sexual and reproductive health and prevent of violence against women.

Media contact: Doseda Hetherington · (03) 9794 8677 · ·