walking on train tracks holding colourful balloons

The Year in Review for WCHM

What a year 2018 has been for WCHM. It has seen us launch 5 of our research reports (plus another due out this week) which shared the voices and view of women, participate in and host many events, work with a wide range of stakeholders and Government across the social determinants of health, and engage with media on a range of issues. We contributed our knowledge from ACT women and informed discussions and consultations on many issues for ACT women such as the work of the Family Safety Hub, maternity services, domestic violence, urban planning and design, the national health strategy, housing and homelessness, consensual sharing of images, the provision of termination services, women in prison, and mental health services for women.

At the beginning of the year and with the support of many local services, WCHM held a Having a Baby in Canberra Expo as a follow-up to the successful launch of the Having a Baby in Canberra website. And joined with local women’s health groups to promote women’s organisations and services at this year’s Multicultural Festival.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, WCHM held an event at the Canberra Museum and Gallery where a panel spoke on the topic of Why Womens Health Matters from the perspectives of past, present and future. At the same event, 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 healthand ‘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‘.

June saw WCHM host an event titled Gender & disadvantage: why does it matter? in conjunction with NATSEM to launch our report, Hidden Disadvantage amongst women in the ACT. The report findings were presented by WCHM CEO and a panel of speakers was then facilitated by Virginia Haussegger (Director, 50/50 by 2030 Foundation) to discuss the topic.

WCHM was delighted with the announcement at the 2018 Philanthropy Awards event in July at the Sydney Opera House that the Snow Foundation and Women’s Centre for Health Matters were the recipients of the Best Small Grant Award in this year’s Australian Philanthropy Awards – for the Assistance Beyond Crisis scheme.

July also saw WCHM enter into a partnership with SANE Australia, a national mental health charity working to support Australians affected by complex mental illness.

To better understand the details of the My Health Records opt-out period, WCHM attended the briefings provided by the Digital Health Agency and continues to provide the updated information regarding the scheme to women.

WCHM held our annual AGM in September where a panel of local speakers shared their views about the key issues for ACT women in the lead up to the development of the next national Women’s Health Strategy. The Chair of WCHM’s Board then presented two awards for excellence in delivering women centred health services in the ACT to Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT and the Women’s Health Service. These were awarded based on the feedback received by WCHM in our surveys of ACT women about ACT services that they value.

On 7 October, WCHM released our report Improving Choices and Options: The views of ACT women about their sexual and reproductive health needs which detailed the findings from the responses of 510 ACT women to a survey conducted during late 2017 and early 2018.

For Mental Health Month, WCHM developed many articles and shared information about resources for BPD Awareness Week and Mental Health Week which had a successful following on social media and saw the information disseminated quite widely throughout our networks and membership.

And in November WCHM released another report Physical Activity And Healthy Eating Promotion To ACT Women – A Guide To Getting It Right. It highlighted the factors that ACT women told us influenced their ability to participate in healthy eating and physical activity, and informed ideas for improving the effectiveness of health promotion campaigns for ACT women. In December, a MapJam event was held with community sector workers to help us map suitable physical activity and healthy eating services and supports for women in the ACT as a launch of the report.

And WCHM undertook two surveys which both closed on 26 November. One focussed on same sex attracted women in the ACT and their health needs and access to services, and the other explored women’s knowledge of the Women’s Health Service and their views about women only health services.

And were involved in many national forums including the national Multicultural Women’s Health Network meeting, the National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services, the ACT Multicultural Summit, and the COAG Summit for the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.