On 1 March, WCHM held an event in the leadup to International Women’s Day at the Canberra Museum and Gallery. Many of our members and key stakeholders attended, as well as representatives from a wide range of organisations and sectors that WCHM work closely with – both non-Government and Government – including the Women’s Health Service, PANDSI, Safe Motherhood for All, Beryl Women, Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, Toora, and the Centenary Women’s and Children’s Hospital among others. Caroline Le Couteur MLA and Gaylene Coulton, CEO of the Capital Health Network, also attended.
We were pleased to have Aunty Violet Sheridan do the Welcome to Country and talk about the importance of women’s health for Indigenous women.
Three speakers spoke on the topic form the perspectives of past, present and future.
Our first speaker was Professor Emerita Dorothy Broom, who has had a connection with WCHM since our beginnings. Following the release of the first National Women’s Health Policy and the allocation of funding to the states and territories, Dorothy took a lead role in the ACT consultations that eventually led to the creation of the Canberra Women’s Health Centre (which later became WCHM). Dorothy has spent many years teaching and researching gender and various aspects of the sociology of health, as a Professor at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University, and is an expert in women’s health and women’s health centres. She spoke about what women’s health was like in the past in Australia, and how the women’s movement redefined and, in practical terms, changed things.
Next WCHM’s CEO, Marcia Williams spoke about the present and why we need to focus on ACT women and the services and supports we need, and included findings from the latest two WCHM reports.
And then Liz Chatham, Executive Director of the Division of Women, Youth & Children in ACT Health, spoke about the future, and the changes occurring in ACT Health which will provide opportunities to improve the delivery of health services and supports for ACT women.
After showing a short collection of images collated about how women experience endometriosis chronic disease by local ACT artist and WCHM member, Margaret Kalms, the Minister for Health and Wellbeing – Meegan Fitzharris – launched WCHM’s two new reports: ‘ACT women’s health matters! ACT Women’s views about their health; their health needs; their access to services, supports, and information; and the barriers to maintaining their health‘ and ‘I don’t have the spoons for that… The Views and experiences of younger ACT women (aged 18 – 50) about accessing supports and services for chronic disease‘.