WHG Newsletter May 2019

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Women's Health Grampians Newsletter
May 2019



Election fever is raging across the country and amidst the plethora of promises being made on a daily basis, it has been heartening that some parties have launched policies relating to family violence – including prevention – and also women’s health. The test will be how well resourced the policies are and to what extent they actually make a difference for women in our region. Women’s Health Grampians has written to all the candidates  (there are 33 across the four electorates that cover our region!) highlighting areas for consideration. Women in rural and remote areas experience poorer health outcomes due to a lack of access to services and infrastructure, and inequality that is entrenched by distance, isolation and disadvantage. Our research has shown that while the Grampians region is making positive changes to close the gender gap in some areas, in other areas the gap is widening and significant action is required to turn this around.
  • Commitment to a National Gender Equality Strategy
  • Commitment to an Australian Women’s Health Network with a strong rural and remote lens
  • A National Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy
  • Free medical termination of pregnancy provision in every public hospital
  • Secure, ongoing funding for regional primary prevention strategies
  • Commitment to the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022
We encourage our readers to engage candidates that you communicate with around these important issues. If you would like further information to assist with this please contact us at WHG.
In staffing news, we have had a welcome and a farewell here. In March we welcomed the new WHG Manager of Strategy and Programs, Rose Durey and she has been busily getting up to speed. Rose brings fantastic skills in health promotion, program and policy development, management, advocacy and communications having worked for several years in roles in women’s health and cancer screening.
Pennie Mathieson, Principal Strategic Advisor of the Central Highlands Integrated Family Violence Committee has taken up an exciting position with the newly established Central Highlands Orange Door. We will certainly miss Pennie’s expertise and leadership but delighted that she remains in the region in similar work. We hope to announce the appointment of a new PSA very soon.
Cheers for now,
Marianne Hendron, CEO, Women's Health Grampians


                                                                                                                        Image: Rose Durey, WHG Manager of Strategy & Programs

News & Events

Gender-Diverse Workforces Project

We are thrilled to announce that Women’s Health Grampians has been successful in securing a three-year grant from Helen McPherson Smith Trust to develop the Gender-Diverse Workforces Project.

This project will support organisations to attract and retain women into non-traditional workforce roles, with a particular focus on attracting women into trades and manufacturing, across the Grampians region.
Building on the success of the CoRE Alliance, the project will work in partnership with key stakeholders in the region to ensure quality, sustainable actions are taken.


About Bloody Time

WHG has been invited to participate in the launch of an exciting new book co-authored by a Ballarat writer. Called About Bloody Time, the menstrual revolution we had to have. It’s key messages are that  menstruation and menopause should not be a secret shame that women and girls carry; we should take pride in our bodies and we should be fostering menstrual well-being.

The book is co-authored by Karen Pickering (recently moved to Ballarat) and Jane Bennett and is the outcome of several years of research and data collection. Published by the Victorian Women’s Trust, a crowd funding campaign is underway to assist with costs – you can find out more here.

The Ballarat launch is planned for June 6, 6pm at the Ballarat Mechanics Institute.

Updates across the region

CoRE: Sports Project will pilot Act@Play

Act@Play is currently in pilot season with AFLG and Ballarat Basketball Association. The associations are well into their equality journey and are currently undertaking an audit to recognise ways and means by which they can promote equality within their workplace but broadly as well, across the whole sport ecosystem.

It’s been a busy time, with the associations involved in media releases and television to announce the program and demonstrate their leadership on the issue, and will continue to kick goals and the program unfolds. Stay tuned!

For more information on the resource or to become a CoRE member please contact Dee Micevski at dee@whg.org.au or 03 5322 4100.

Image: AFLG

CoRE Project: Equality for All

Women’s Health Grampians innovative Equality for All project now has 11 Equality Advocates from a range of diverse backgrounds, able to present on their lived experiences and support CoRE members to develop a deeper understanding of effective strategies to reduce discrimination and the barriers to equality.

Training of the Equality Advocates is now complete with Advocates presenting across a range of organisations and events including: International Women’s Day, WHG’s Communities of Practice, Ararat CFA and Hepburn Shire Council.

Equality Advocates are able to speak at CoRE organisations, events and workshops.  Equality Advocates will also be able to meet one-to-one with CoRE members to talk about equality for all, diversity and inclusion for all women.
For further information contact Belinda-Sue Parsons, Project Coordinator Equality for All on
belinda-sue@whg.au or 5322 4100.

Image: Equality for All Advocates

Regional: Central Highlands

WHG are excited to begin the Act@Work program with two local councils in the Central Highlands region, Moorabool Shire Council and Golden Plains Shire Council. Both councils are only in the infancy of the project; however as the program unfolds we expect great initiatives and actions to be implemented to change the profile and opportunities for women in their workplaces and the community. It is again a great show of leadership from our municipalities and it's pleasing to say that 10 local councils in the Grampians region have gone through the Act@Work process. Stay tuned for the achievements these councils make in terms of promoting cultures of respect and equality.

Central Highlands Community of Practice – It is that time of the year where the Central Highlands Community of Practice is happening. There was a session on Wednesday 10 April, which explored the recent National Community Attitudes Survey which highlights that although some of our attitudes have improved around violence and gender inequality we have a long way to go still. CoRE members explored what measures they can take to rewrite these attitudes and commonly held beliefs in the community!

White Ribbon Information Night – Dee was invited to the recent Ballarat White Ribbon Committees’ White Ribbon Information Session to raise awareness of CoRE and its impact of the local community in terms of violence prevention. It was insightful and powerful to hear from local survivor Stacey Otto and White Ribbon Australia Representative Neil Stott who explained the White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation Program and Breaking the Silence in Schools program. It was a great audience and so much discussion afterwards. Sweet Monas Choir was there to sing a few tunes that also raised awareness of men’s violence against women.

For more information or support in this region, please contact Dee Micevski at dee@whg.org.au or 5322 4100.


Regional: Grampians Pyrenees

Community of Practice
The latest Grampians Pyrenees Community of Practice was held in Ararat on April 30th.  CoRE members from the Grampians Pyrenees region came together to talk about the latest data from the National Community Attitudes Survey and also hear presentations from WHG Equality Advocates, women from diverse backgrounds speaking about their lived experience of discrimination.

Interested in learning more about how to spread the word about CoRE and how to communicate effectively about the prevention of violence against women….. 
Women’s Health Grampians hosts a Communications for CoRE Members Community of Practice and the next one is on 30 May 2019. At this Community of Practice attendees collaborate about key messages, social media campaigns, promotion of events and much more.   If you or communications staff from your organisation are interested please contact Kate Diamond-Keith, kate@whg.org.au 

Training opportunities
CoRE Members in the Grampians Pyrenees are invited to send staff along to upcoming training sessions in our area:

  • Intensive Bystander Training (Stawell) 21 May 2019, 10am – 4pm at the Stawell Health and Community Centre.
  • Prevention of Violence Against Women: An Introduction (Stawell) 4 June 2019, 10am – 1pm at the Stawell Health and Community Centre.
  • Gender Equity Training for Managers (Stawell) 6 August 2019, 10am – 12pm at the Stawell Health and Community Centre.

To register for any of these sessions please visit Eventbrite.

For more information or support in this region, please contact Kate Diamond-Keith at kate@whg.org.au or 5322 4100. 


Regional: Wimmera

There was a fantastic turn out to the 5th Horsham International Women’s Day event organised in partnership with the Rotary Club of Horsham East, The Centre for Sexual Assault and Family Violence, DHHS and with the support of Horsham Rural City Council.  The sold out event heard from Noradjhua born, Bridget Noonan who made history last year with her appointment as the first woman Clerk of Victoria’s Legislative Assembly in 161 years.
Local Equality Advocates Katie Mutch, Bernie O’Shannessy, and Shannon Secombe spoke at the March Community of Practice sharing their lived experience and providing insights into understanding client wishes, planning for and enabling disability access, addressing unconscious bias and providing supportive workplace environments.  As highlighted elsewhere in this newsletter the Equality Advocates are able to work with CoRE member organisations to improve their intersectional approach.
We welcome Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative as a member of the CoRE Alliance.
Local Training opportunities:

Check out Eventbrite for further details as well as training opportunities in Stawell.

For more information or support in this region, please contact Melissa Morris melissa@whg.org.au or 5382 5607.

Image: IWD Horsham

Central Highlands Integrated Family Violence Committee

Central Highlands Integrated Family Violence was proud to support Ballarat & Grampians Community Legal Service in bringing the My Other Closet cabaret show to Ballarat and Daylesford in March. The Ballarat session included a full day professional development workshop exploring the issue of family violence in LGBTI relationships, and was well attended by a wide range of service providers in the region. CHIFVC will use the learnings from this session to better understand LGBTI family violence and to broaden the scope of our work to be more inclusive.
CHIFVC would like to extend a huge congratulations to Jess and the team from BGCLS for all their hard work in delivering this fantastic opportunity to the region.

The Central Highlands Integrated Family Violence Committee’s Principal Strategic Advisor, Pennie Mathieson, has taken up the position of Service System Navigator at the Central Highlands Orange Door. CHIFVC would like to thank Pennie for all her hard work, passion and dedication and wish her well in her new and exciting role.
The committee also thanks Marianne Hendron as she steps down from her role as Chair, and welcomes Libby Jewson from WRISC Family Violence Support as the new CHIFVC Chair.

Resources & Training

Act@Work is an organisation-wide cultural-change program for workplaces. The aim is to address the underlying causes of violence against women: sexism, discrimination and gender inequality using a systems approach in workplace setting. Act@Work has been in place now for over 5 years with 15 workplaces undertaking the program across the region. If you would like more information contact Dee Micevski at dee@whg.org.au or 5322 4100.

This Girl Can

To support This Girl Can, a campaign by VicHealth to increase participation of women and girls in sport, Sports Central coordinated a Come and Try session at Moorsehead Park recently. Participants were able to try modified versions of cricket, football, soccer, and touch rugby. WHG staff were eager to get involved and support this in any way we can – from the perspective of staff it was a great opportunity to get active, meet likeminded and diverse women, and social in a fun and active way!

For more details see our recent Facebook post and please contact Sports Central 5331 6966 Sports Central for further information around how to get involved these programs, which will all be starting up again soon.

Sexual & Reproductive Health

Improving Reproductive Choices in the Grampians region 

The Increasing Reproductive Choices project hosted some amazing events in February 2019. WHG in partnership with The Royal Women’s Hospital, Ballarat Community Health, Western Victoria Primary Health Network and 1800 My Options delivered Medical Abortion Education sessions in Horsham, Ararat and Ballarat. Dr Paddy Moore, Clinical Head of Abortion and Contraception Services at The Royal Women’s Hospital shared her expertise for clinical guidance, support and referral pathways for GPs who interested in providing medical abortion services. All events were well attended with 66 people from a variety of professions, such as GPs, medical students, practice and community health nurses, pharmacists, specialists and medical administrators. Participants responses showed 90% felt entirely comfortable describing the clinical management of abortion, 84% felt the training was relevant to their practice and 85% felt the overall quality of the event was excellent. 

As a result, we are pleased to say we now have medical abortion providers listed their services on 1800 My Options both publicly and privately, making it easier for women to access this important information when and where they need it.

If you would like to be involved in the Increasing Reproductive Choices project or for more information please contact Marieke Dam on 0417 028 823 or marieke@whg.org.au

For more information about our Sexual and Reproductive Health work across the region please contact Shannon Hill on shannon@whg.org.au or 5322 4100.

Other Items of Note


Grampians Pyrenees FARMher is a gender equity project led by Grampians Pyrenees Primary Care Partnership (GPPCP), which aims to raise the profile of rural women in the region. Since January this year 45 rural women across the catchment (Ararat Rural City, Northern Grampians and Pyrenees Shire) have shared their own personal stories. These biographies touch on how they all came to live where they live and for most, the challenges rural women face today juggling commitments towards strengthening their work, family and communities.


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