Advocacy

WCHM represents the views of ACT women on advisory bodies, reference committees and working groups, and advocates through consultation and submission processes at both the ACT and national levels. WCHM undertakes this work across a range of areas including: disability, housing, justice, health and mental health.

In particular WCHM undertakes advocacy to:

  • Raise awareness of the impacts on health and wellbeing of social, economic and environmental factors
  • Ensure that health services are women-sensitive, affordable, accessible and responsive
  • Create change in service delivery, policy, practice, and community attitudes
  • Empower women and women’s groups to become more involved in decision-making about healthcare and broader health policy and initiatives

A key component of WCHM’s advocacy work is intersectoral collaboration. For WCHM intersectoral collaboration includes providing information and support to other sectors to consider women’s health and wellbeing needs in their operations. Through this collaboration we aim to achieve greater awareness of the health consequences of policy decisions and organisational practice. We also aim to raise the profile of issues relating to women and to develop approaches to working together.

The following is a list of current advocacy projects, events and initiatives:


Capacity Building

An important part of our work is providing support to small women’s groups. WCHM knows that consumers and peers are important in shaping change within the health system, so is committed to undertaking capacity building activities with small, peer-led women’s support groups. We believe that truly improving the health outcomes of specific population groups of women is to work as partners and build on the assets, strengths and capacities of each individual. WCHM works in a manner that promotes self-determination and sustainability.

WCHM supports these groups in a variety of different ways depending on their individual needs and stage of development. We work with groups to develop governance and administrative skills, to encourage ownership of the issues they are seeking to address, to facilitate relationship building, and to improve advocacy skills.

The following is a list of peer-led women’s groups with which WCHM is currently undertaking capacity building:


Community Development

WCHM uses community development to assist women to create change in their own lives, to have their voices heard, and to contribute to addressing the issues affecting their lives by working with others to develop solutions.

We do this by bringing groups of women together to identify solutions to common problems based on their local knowledge and priorities. This builds women’s networks and capacities, enabling them to take action to create opportunities to improve their social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing.

The following is a list of current community development projects, events and initiatives:


Health Promotion

WCHM understands good health promotion work to be guided by the principle of inclusion; working with individuals, groups and communities who face barriers to good health to improve their health and wellbeing outcomes.

WCHM’s health promotion work is based on the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion which was developed at the first World Health Organisation (WHO) International Conference on Health Promotion held in Ottawa, Canada, in 1986. The Ottawa Charter identified three basic strategies for health promotion: to advocate for the conditions that are essential for health; to enable all people to achieve their full health potential; and to mediate between the different interests in society in the pursuit of health.

These strategies are supported by five priority action areas which WCHM works within:

  1. Build healthy public policy
  2. Create supportive environments for health
  3. Strengthen community action for health
  4. Develop personal skills
  5. Re-orient health services

The following is a list of current and past health promotion projects, events and initiatives, click on the links to read more:


Information Provision and Health Education

Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to find, assess and understand health information and health services. Individuals who are health literate are able to communicate needs and preferences, integrate new information and understand the steps required to take the appropriate actions to achieve and maintain health.

WCHM maintains a focus on improving women’s access to health information as a way of enhancing their knowledge and understanding about the causes of health and illness and improving their capacity to manage their own health and wellbeing. Improving women’s ability to access health information will increase their capacity to make informed choices about their health-related behaviours. Empowering individuals and groups through knowledge is an important health promotion objective.

For WCHM, health education involves the provision of information and education to service providers and policy makers about the issues impacting on women’s health and wellbeing. It aims to increase their understanding, motivation, skills and confidence to take action to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for women in the ACT. Health education includes the provision of information about the social, economic and environmental conditions impacting on health, and the use of the health system—not just individual risk factors and risk behaviours.

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Social Research

Social research is defined by WCHM as research which gathers information about the attitudes, assumptions, experiences and views of a particular group. WCHM conducts social research in order to identify the needs of women in the ACT and surrounding regions around the social determinants of health, and to collect data that reflect women’s views and experiences. WCHM is committed to encouraging and facilitating the involvement of women in our research.

The following is a list of current social research projects:

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Working Across Sectors

A key component of WCHM’s advocacy work is working across sectors to achieve change—or participating in intersectoral collaboration. Intersectoral collaboration refers to our cooperation with multiple sectors in the community, which include (but are not limited to): health, mental health, human services, urban planning and services, legal, justice, domestic violence and sexual assault,  and government.

For WCHM intersectoral collaboration includes the provision of information and support to other sectors to consider women’s health and wellbeing needs in their operations. Through this collaboration we aim to achieve greater awareness of the health consequences of policy decisions and organisational practice.

WCHM is committed to intersectoral collaboration through its involvement in meetings, consultations, and submissions, and its membership and support of many networks, committees and roundtables in the ACT.