Women's Health In the North

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WHIN currently has 2 vacancies on its Board of Governance for elected members.

Eligible WHIN members can nominate for a position on the Board by completing this nomination form and returning to us by 5pm on October 6.

An election will be held at WHIN’s Annual General Meeting on October 26, 2023.

If you are not already a member of WHIN but would like to join, you can complete an application form by following the links on this page.

Later this year Australians will be asked to vote in a referendum to enshrine an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament in our Constitution. The Voice will be an independent, representative advisory body that will enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to advise the federal government on the issues, policies and laws that affect them.

WHIN is supporting a Yes vote in this referendum in response to the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart which called for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution to enable First Nations people to take their rightful place in this country.

We offer this support of the Yes vote in allyship with the representatives of First Nations people who made the initial request through the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and First Nations organisations such as Reconciliation Australia, First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, ANTAR, and Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO).

We express our deep hope that community discussion in the lead up to the referendum will be conducted with respect and care for one another and that we all commit to building a more just and inclusive Australia, where health equity is a reality.

The Women’s Health Services Network have released their assessment of the 2023-2024 Victorian State Budget. The assessment scorecard evaluates the Victorian State Budget against the priority areas of the Women’s Health Services:

· Promote primary prevention and health promotion for all Victorians.  

· Deliver 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.  

· Deliver investment in culturally safe, gender equitable mental healthcare and investment in the primary prevention of mental illness for women and girls. 

· Invest in health services and programs based on data and evidence to address a broad range of women’s health issues

The scorecard welcomes the continued investment and work to advance gender responsive budgeting, welcomes the significant investment in women’s health clinics and support programs, the additional services for women’s sexual and reproductive health and mental health hubs.

Looking into the future, the Women’s Health Services Network look forward to working with the government to ensure that gender and intersectional disaggregated data is utilised across all areas of Victoria’s health system , that the implementation of mental health reforms address systemic intersectional gender inequity in our mental health system and sustained support and investment in primary prevention and health promotion that addresses the diverse needs of the community. You can read the scorecard here.

Women’s Health In the North (WHIN) cautiously welcomes this week’s budget announcements, recognising that they followed through on the Government’s election commitments. 

WHIN CEO Helen Riseborough looks forward to working with the government to ensure the funding commitments in this budget are available for all women across Victoria.  

“We’re pleased to see the Victorian Government commitment to women’s health in this year’s budget,” Helen said.  

“The investment in the women’s health clinics is most welcome and we look forward to future investment in primary prevention and health promotion because we know that this work stops illness.” 

Helen said the network was supportive of the Gender Equality Budget Statement, including the implementation of gender responsive budgeting, and were keen to understand how future budgets and government investment would support ongoing reform. 

“It is vital the lived experience of women’s health and wellbeing is centred in our work going forward.  

“This long-term work requires ongoing investment, and we are not there yet.” Helen concluded. 

As a member of the Women’s Health Services Network, WHIN supports the Victorian State Government’s leadership and commitment to women’s health and gender equality as part of its policy and reform agenda. WHIN welcomes the Victorian Government’s election commitment to ‘give women’s health the focus and funding it deserves’ (15 Nov 2022, Media Release The Hon. Daniel Andrews).

As the only state infrastructure that delivers specialist expertise on intersectional gender equity for our health system – both regionally and state-wide – the Women’s Health Services are in a unique position to understand what investment and services are required to ensure that all Victorians are well.

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, WHIN and the Women’s Health Services Network look forward to seeing progress on gender responsive budgeting, and, will be expecting investment from the Victorian Government that:

Prevention investment lowers healthcare costs and, reduces the costs to the economy associated with premature death and years spent in ill health.  As evidence submitted by the Women’s Health Services to the State (1) Government in 2022 shows, (2) increased investment in preventive health would pay for itself many times over. 

The 2023 budget presents the opportunity for Government to make strides towards addressing generations of inequitable health outcomes for women. This sustained investment will deliver ongoing social and economic benefits.

1. The Business Case submitted to Victorian Treasury for the 2022 Budget by the Women’s Health Services demonstrates that for every $1 of primary prevention investment in the women’s health sector, the return on investment is prevention health measures is $468

2. Women’s Health Services 2022 Business Case to Victorian Treasury 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.

Women’s Health In the North has joined with all Women’s Health Services (WHS) across Victoria to support the ’Her Mental Health’ Campaign from the HER Centre, for a specific approach to women’s mental health, and the funding of more services, research, treatments and education of women’s specific mental health needs.

The mental health of women and girls is influenced by the intersection of sex, gender and other social factors.

‘The Women’s Health Services advocate for a well-funded, dynamic and thriving public health system; a system that supports the health of all our community. Our health system is not doing this if the specific needs of women are not being recognised,’ says WHIN’s CEO Helen Riseborough.

Professor Jayashri Kulkarni AM, Director of HER Centre Australia and Head of Psychiatry at Monash University says, ‘Current treatment options for women living with mental illness and mental ill health are not good enough. Too many times women receive the wrong diagnosis or the wrong treatment, or there just isn’t a good enough treatment option available yet.’

The Women’s Health Services are joining the HER Mental Health Campaign and will be promoting their support to partners, members and the broader community. In addition, the services will collectively call for increased investment in health promotion of women’s mental wellbeing.

‘We are supporting HER Centre’s call for specialist women’s mental health clinics, for clinical trials of new treatments for women, and education for general public and health professionals on the gendered nature of mental health,’ says Ms Riseborough.

“The Victorian Women’s Health Services have over 30 years of expertise and impact in improving the health and wellbeing of all women across Victoria. We know how important it is to apply a gender lens to health and wellbeing. It delivers outcomes for women, and value for our state.”

“If our government invests in a wellbeing economy, as has happened in Wales and New Zealand*, we will no longer have a vastly overstretched public mental health system” says Ms Riseborough.

The Women’s Health Services have developed a Theory of Change for women’s mental health and wellbeing, which sets out how to effectively address women’s mental health issues over the short-, medium- and longer-term using gender-transformative practice. Based on the latest evidence and research, the Theory of Change takes a population-level approach to address the decline in women’s mental health. A copy of the Theory of Change can be found here.

*“Integrating wellbeing into the business of government: The feasibility of innovative legal and policy measures to achieve sustainable development in Australia” The George Institute for Global Health, VIC Health (2021)

Women’s Health in the North Inc (the Applicant) has been granted an exemption from the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) (the Act) to allow WHIN to undertake the following conduct:

“Women and gender-diverse people” include people who identify as women and people whose gender identity does not align with the gender assigned at birth.

“Gender-diverse” is inclusive of trans, non-binary, agender, intersex and other gender diverse individuals.

“Women and gender-diverse people” does not include individuals for whom both their biological and gender identity is male.

As an Incorporated Association, WHIN is a membership-based organisation. Membership is free and available to individuals and organisations. To find out more about becoming a member and to access our online application form, visit our membership page.

Join WHIN today and support your local women’s health service.


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Nominate to Join WHIN's Board
WHIN currently has 2 vacancies on its Board of Governance for elected members. Eligible WHIN members can nominate for...
WHIN Supports a Voice to Parliament
Later this year Australians will be asked to vote in a referendum to enshrine an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice...
Victorian Budget Report Card
The Women’s Health Services Network have released their assessment of the 2023-2024 Victorian State Budget. The assessment...

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