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As Australia’s first and largest specialist public hospital for women and newborns, the Women’s holds a distinctive role in the health system. We are proud of our history of leadership and advocacy on a range of sensitive, complex and challenging women’s health issues, and we are committed to using the social model of health to promote positive health outcomes for women and newborns.

Our advocacy activities aim to advance social change by working productively with governments, policy makers, leaders, funders and the broader community, and challenging social norms and attitudes that reinforce women’s poor health outcomes. We advocate by conducting evidence-based research into women’s and newborn health, developing new models of care, seeking funding and grants, producing expert submissions and reports, raising awareness through traditional and social media, and building system capacity across the state.

Our staff are committed to a woman’s right to optimal health. Every day, they advocate on behalf of patients, consumers and families to ensure equity of access to high quality and safe care.

The Women’s Advocacy Plan outlines three areas of strategic focus:

Strategic direction 1: Promote gender equality within a health context

The Women’s recognises that sex and gender affects a person’s health and healthcare, and is committed to promoting gender equity. This includes advocating for greater representation of women in leadership and advancing gender equity within the health workforce, in governance settings, policy development and service design and delivery. This includes advocating for industry workforce planning strategies that support the sustainability and unique requirements of the public health sector, which is a highly feminised, 24 hour workforce. 

Strategic direction 2: Promote health equity for vulnerable women and their children

The Women’s has a proud history of providing healthcare to vulnerable women and newborns. We seek to build on this legacy by continuing to advocate to acknowledge the social determinants of health, redress disadvantage and discrimination that affects women’s health; and increase access for women to high quality public healthcare services. We remain focused on improving health outcomes for Aboriginal women, women from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds, women with complex substance use issues, and women who experience homelessness.

Strategic direction 3: Advance complex and critical areas of women’s health

The Women’s plays a central role in supporting women’s health, safety and wellbeing. There remain a number of complex, critical and stigmatised areas of women’s health where barriers and service gaps affect women’s capacity to access responsive and comprehensive healthcare. This is particularly true for areas such as women’s choice and ability to exercise their reproductive rights and gain safe and timely access to contraception and abortion services, and the need for gender sensitive mental health services for women, infants and disadvantaged families. We are particularly proud of our leadership work with hospitals across Victoria on improving the responses of health services to violence against women as a health issue.

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