Women's Health In the North

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In 2024, Women’s Health In the North will be proudly promoting the International Women’s Day (IWD) theme ‘Count Her In: Accelerating Gender Equality through Economic Empowerment’.

#CountHerIn highlights that women’s economic empowerment is central to realising women’s rights and gender equality. For more information about the 2024 theme see UN Women’s web page here.

The theme also aligns with WHIN’s Economic Equality work. Our financial capability program, ‘Let’s Talk Money’ has been positively impacting the lives of more than 1,600 multicultural women and their families in our region since 2017. We are expanding the program this year to drive economic gender equity and create pathways to greater economic inclusion for women and gender-diverse people across the whole of Victoria. Look out for our monthly e-News and social media pages for progress on this exciting work.

WHIN is again adopting and aligning our IWD theme with two credible, international organisations: UN Women Australia and International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA). Each organisation has a long history of advocating for women’s rights and gender equality internationally with the message ‘women’s rights are human rights’.

IWD was first borne out of labour movements for women’s rights at the turn of the 20th century in North America and across Europe. The social justice movement was grassroots until 1975, International Women’s Year, when the United Nations adopted IWD on March 8 when it is still held. The IWD movement has since grown in reach and visibility globally to make IWD a central point for action to build support for women’s rights and their full participation in the economy, politics, community and in everyday life.

A campaign by More Voices, More Representation highlights that 7 out of 10 women and gender-diverse people in Australia do not feel represented on IWD. This reinforces the need to align with the above international organisations.

We know that other IWD themes are promoted each year, including one by a corporate entity that has gained huge influence using search engine optimisation. There is no transparency about this organisation/site i.e. information about its origins, funding or whether it has a Board. In this context, WHIN chooses to support the work of the international women’s organisations who work to promote the rights of women across the world on IWD – and throughout the year.

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. 

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.


The 12 Women’s Health Services have together released their 2022 Victorian Election Platform, which puts forward three key actions and areas of work to improve women’s health and wellbeing in Victoria. WHSs are calling on all parties at this Victorian State Election to take action on three key pillars of policy:

See our media release and, for further information, the Women’s Health Services Victorian Election Platform 2022.

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.

Membership of Gender Equity Victoria (GEN VIC) is open! Now is the time to join the Victorian peak body for gender equity, women’s health and the prevention of violence against women.

Membership of GEN VIC is available to any organisation and individual in Victoria that has a commitment to advancing gender equity, holds values that align with feminist principles; and supports GEN VIC’s vision for equality, wellbeing and freedom from violence for every woman and girl in every community of Victoria.

WHIN has been a long-standing member of GEN VIC, formerly Women’s Health Association of Victoria, along with other women’s health services across Victoria. Through GEN VIC WHIN is able to advocate, influence and collaborate to improve outcomes in gender equity, women’s health and in the prevention of violence at a state-wide level.

See the GEN VIC website for a list of membership benefits including strengthening our collective voice and taking part in coordinated action: https://www.genvic.org.au/index.html

Image of women walking together links to GEN VIC website

The annual Week Without Violence (WWV) is coming up on 15–21 October 2018. The WWV is a global campaign to end violence against women.

This year, almost 50 organisations in the northern metropolitan region are planning to run WWV activities, with the majority planning a Clothesline Project activity, which focuses on raising awareness about family violence. The NIFVS Coordination team held a workshop on 6 September 2018 for campaigners to come together and discuss plans for their events.

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News

Investment in the Health, Wellbeing and Safety of Victorian Women Welcomed by WHSN
Victoria’s leading network of women’s health organisations has welcomed the Allan Government’s investment in the health,...
International Women's Day and WHIN: 2024 Statement about Theme
In 2024, Women’s Health In the North will be proudly promoting the International Women’s Day (IWD) theme ‘Count Her...
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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