Improve Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health

Women have a right to optimal sexual and reproductive health.

Women have a right to optimal sexual and reproductive health. 

Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is an important health issue for all women in the region. It has a significant impact on women’s physical and mental health, and their emotional and social wellbeing. Optimal sexual and reproductive health is about much more than the absence of disease. It’s about wellbeing, respect and freedom from discrimination and violence. Optimal sexual and reproductive health outcomes require access to accurate, evidence- and rights-based information and safe, effective, timely and affordable health services. It also requires health promotion efforts that address the gender inequality that underpins poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes.  

Sexual and reproductive health is both affected by, and contributes to, gender equity. Expanding and protecting women’s autonomy, control and choice over their sexual and reproductive health is a key component of advancing gender equity. Advancing gender equity, by increasing women’s access to social, economic, political and cultural resources and power also reduces barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare and improving outcomes. 

The Victorian Government identified ‘Improving Sexual and Reproductive Health’ as one of the ten key priorities of the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2019-2023.Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health: Key Priorities 2017- 2020 was the first ever Victorian sexual and reproductive health strategy and provides direction for the coordination of partnership efforts at a state wide, regional and local level. It is currently under renewal.  

A Strategy for Equality: Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health in Melbourne’s East 2020 – 2025 

Women’s Health East has developed and published a regional strategy for women’s sexual and reproductive health in consultation with a wide variety of organisations from across the sector, including members of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategic Reference Group led by Women’s Health East. A Strategy for Equality and the Background Paper identify key SRH priorities and priority populations in the Eastern Metropolitan Region and articulate a framework for improving women’s SRH through enhancing equity, increasing access to key services and improving the capability of the healthcare system to address women’s SRH. 

A Strategy for Equality: Action Plan 2021-2023

This Action Plan has been developed to operationalise the framework articulated in The Strategy and outline the collective actions that will be undertaken by the Eastern Metropolitan Region Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategic Reference Group to improve the SRH of women, trans men, non-binary and gender diverse people across the EMR for the next two years.

EMR Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategic Reference Group 

Women’s Health East leads the Eastern Metropolitan Regional SRH Strategic Reference Group which includes over sixteen regional partner organisations as well as six statewide organisations. The Strategic Reference group seeks to promote and facilitate action around SRH in the Eastern Metropolitan Region.   

If you work in the health or community sectors within the EMR and are interested in joining the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategic Reference Group, please contact Claire Butselaar at cbutselaar@whe.org.au 

For more information on sexual and reproductive health, check out our Resources section.