Creating safe and inclusive public spaces for women

By Vanessa Czerniawski, Health Promotion Officer This article was first published in the July 2020 edition of the Planning Institute of Australia’s Planning News. My gym temporarily closed in March this year. The playgrounds that I regularly visited with my toddler also closed. Like many other Victorians, I had to re-think ways to use public spaces to maintain my fitness and entertain my very energetic 3-year old. I soon realised that, despite restricted access to areas I used to frequent, I was actually interacting with… Read more READ MORE

Women’s mental health and COVID-19

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of mental health and wellbeing, as well as its vulnerability to external or societal threats and its gendered nature. While there has been no shortage of clickbait on how to maintain mental health during the pandemic and lockdown (“Exercise regularly! Get adequate exposure to natural light! Stay hydrated!”), mental health and mental health challenges are complex, dynamic issues that require holistic, whole-of-population health interventions. The social and economic repercussions of COVID-19 has significant implications for mental health because it has… Read more READ MORE

National Reconciliation Week

National Reconciliation Week is commemorated each year from 27 May–3 June, and encompasses two significant milestones in Aboriginal history —the successful 1967 referendum (27 May) and the 1992 High Court Mabo decision (3 June). The 1967 referendum amended the constitution to include Aboriginal people in the census and allow the Commonwealth to create laws for them. In many states across Australia prior to the referendum, Aboriginal people did not have the same rights as non-Aboriginal Australians, including the right to own property, be the legal… Read more READ MORE

Pregnancy, infertility, assisted reproductive technology (ART) and COVID

Laura Riccardi The outbreak of COVID-19, an infectious disease that causes flu-like symptoms and has resulted in the deaths of over 125,000 people at the time of writing, has rapidly overwhelmed the healthcare system, shut down industries and international travel, and prompted sweeping changes to legislation and law enforcement. In addition to these sweeping changes, COVID-19 is having a significant impact on the lives and health of individuals. This includes the sexual and reproductive health of women across Australia, where we have been relatively inoculated… Read more READ MORE

Love in the time of COVID-19

COVID-19 has universally disrupted people’s day-to-day lives, including working, shopping, leisure and travel. But what does it mean for sex, relationships and dating? When you’re supposed to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from other people, how can you have sex, date or spend time with your partner? This article explores the implications of COVID-19 on women’s sexual health and sex lives. Women have distinct sexual and reproductive health needs, however, these are not always addressed by healthcare services or health promotion. Much of the… Read more READ MORE

COVID-19 and access to abortion

The compounding nature of COVID-19: How the global pandemic exposes longstanding barriers to women’s optimal reproductive health and further restricts access to abortion Autumn Pierce I’m pretty familiar with the link between natural disasters and gendered violence. As part of my IMPH I took a unit of study called Health Issues & Humanitarian Emergencies specifically so I could examine the staggering increase in intimate partner violence following Hurricane Katrina in the United States (the numbers I heard on TV in 2005 have always stuck with… Read more READ MORE

Gender equity organisations unite on COVID-19 disaster

GEN VIC have made a joint statement calling for State and Federal Governments to recognise the gendered impacts of COVID-19. Women’s Health East is one of more than 50 organisations who have endorsed this statement.


The gender divide in social inclusion: The unheard story of older women

Originally published by Susan Maury on the Power to Persuade site Social inclusion is a determinant of mental health and wellbeing. In today’s analysis, Autumn Pierce (@otonoenespanol) of Women’s Health East (@WHEast) shares highlights from their important new report The Unheard Story: The Impact of Gender on Social Inclusion for Older Women, which explores how inequalities accumulate across the lifespan to increase the risk and impacts of social exclusion for older women. Within the last few years elder abuse has come into focus in Victoria… Read more READ MORE

(RE) Shaping Respect: What it means to the community

By Rhiannon — VFER Project Officer The recent Voices for Equality & Respect Summit was the culmination of months of planning. I am so proud to have been involved in the project, and before departing Women’s Health East I wanted to share some of my reflections. What I’ve found about preventing family and intimate partner violence in LGBTIQ spaces is that it’s confronting work. It’s not an easy thing to hear, to see, or to know about. It took me a whole day to finish… Read more READ MORE

Why we need to keep the gender focus on elder abuse

By Autumn Pierce, Health Promotion Manager As seen in Earlier this year, I attended the Victorian Government’s Elder Abuse Prevention Forum on behalf of Women’s Health East, and since then I’ve been particularly interested in conversations relating to the issue. Elder abuse in itself isn’t a new issue, but it has come into focus more lately, especially in Victoria, where it is now recognised within a family violence context. In this year’s budget, in continuing response to the recommendations the Royal Commission into Family Violence… Read more READ MORE

Women in Leadership

By Autumn Pierce, Health Promotion Manager 2/06/2019 Given the recent federal election, it seems timely to talk about government. The 2019 federal election saw only an incremental rise in women’s representation in Parliament while Tanya Plibersek passed on the opportunity to succeed Bill Shorten as Labor leader. In her words, she could not ‘reconcile the important responsibilities I have to my family with the additional responsibilities (of) leadership.’ There’s a lot to unpack in that statement, one disproportionately echoed by women around the world on… Read more READ MORE

A Reflection on NAIDOC Week 2018

By Jill Exon, Health Promotion Officer 1/08/2018 As I reflect on the last couple of weeks of 2018 NAIDOC celebrations, I feel honoured to have represented Women’s Health East (WHE) at a number of key events across the eastern metropolitan region (EMR), in addition to attending a local community event with my family. This year’s national NAIDOC theme, Because of her, we can!, resonated with me on both a professional and personal level, and I’m excited to share the highlights. On 5 July, I joined… Read more READ MORE