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Women’s health and wellbeing

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Women and girls make up just over half of Victoria’s population. In 2011, about half of Victoria’s women and girls were under 40 years of age. Around two thirds of people over 85 are women. Over 70 per cent of Victoria’s women and girls lived in Melbourne and close to 30 per cent in rural and regional areas. About 19,315 women and girls were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Close to a third of women and girls were born overseas, including about 1,700 refugees. Refugee numbers will soon increase.

Overall, Victorian women are living longer, but with more chronic illness and more years with a disability as they age. In addition, women often have different experiences and patterns of disease throughout their lives than men.

On average, women who are particularly disadvantaged, including Aboriginal women, live shorter and less healthy lives than other women in Victoria. It is now well known that women and men can experience substantial benefits when their gender, biology and diversity are central to health service provision. This includes diversity in age, location, culture, ethnicity and refugee status, language, sexual and gender identity.

Factors that affect women’s health include access to economic, social and cultural resources, and experiences such as systemic discrimination or abuse. Women exposed to negative factors may have poorer health or unmet needs. Positive factors, such as good health care that meets women’s needs, can have health benefits. The health of Victorian women may then be optimised through universal access and targeted support for those most in need.

The  Victorian Health Priorities Framework 2012-22: Metropolitan Health Plan (May 2011) includes a commitment to review existing plans for women’s health, such as the   Victorian Women's Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2010-2014, as a priority for the Department of Health.

Services

Maternity Services

Victoria’s Maternity Services Program aims to enhance public maternity care by working towards high quality birthing services.

Victorian Women’s Health Program

The Victorian Women’s Health Program (VWHP) aims to improve the health and wellbeing of all Victorian women, with an emphasis on those most at risk. The VWHP funds 12 services, including three statewide services and nine regional services.

The geographical areas which each VWHP-funded service covers is displayed in the maps at this link

Statewide women’s health services

Women’s Health Victoria provides health promotion, information and advocacy, including The Index which is an online gateway to health and wellbeing data for women and girls.

The Multicultural Centre for Women's Health provides multilingual health promotion, training, research and advocacy.

The Women's Health Information Centre (WHIC) is a free confidential state-wide health service that offers information, individualized support and referral options on a wide range of women's health issues and in a range of languages.

Metropolitan women’s health agencies

Rural and regional women’s health agencies

Resources

Gender and Diversity Lens for Health and Human Services

The Gender and Diversity Lens for Health and Human Services (the Lens) is a quality improvement tool for increasing health and human service responsiveness to gender and diversity. The resource has been developed with input from a range of funded organisations, consumers and department staff, with a focus on service planning and delivery.

The Lens assists the Departments of Health and Human Services and funded specialist and mainstream services to better understand and take into account the interaction between gender, diversity and disadvantage for their clients and services.

  Gender and Diversity Lens for Health and Human Services

Having a Baby in Victoria

The Having a Baby in Victoria website provides information about the types of care offered by Victoria’s maternity services through the public hospital system.

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Contact

Penelope Robinson
Policy Coordination and Projects Branch
Victorian Department of Health
Email: diversity@health.vic.gov.au
Tel: 9096 7244