International Women's Day 2018: Central Victorian agencies plan for action on gender equity

OVER the course of six hours, central Victorian organisations helped develop a gender equity strategy.

VicHealth, the Municipal Association of Victoria, Women’s Health Loddon Mallee, La Trobe University and headspace were among those to lend their expertise to the discussion.

The ‘Let’s talk gender equity’ forum and workshop was hosted by the City of Greater Bendigo.

The ideas shared in the Honourable Howard Nathan Foyer at Ulumbarra Theatre will shape the city’s Gender Equity Strategy.

Before the attendees could begin to workshop a strategy, they had to establish the context in which it would operate.

Statistics revealed women in Greater Bendigo experienced poorer health outcomes compared with Victorian women generally.

In some instances, the indicators were dramatically different to those of men both in Greater Bendigo and the state.

Reported family violence incidents was one such indicator, with 1310 incidents reported by women in our community and 388 by men.

Women in Greater Bendigo reported 129 sexual offences, while men reported 34 incidents.

Though 95 per cent of men feel safe in the community, just over half (57 per cent) of women would say the same.

Statewide comparisons were unavailable in these categories.

Almost 39 per cent of women in our community have experienced anxiety or depression, compared with 25 per cent of women statewide.

About 16 per cent of men in Greater Bendigo reported experiences with the same conditions – relatively consistent with the statewide figure. 

City of Greater Bendigo health and wellbeing director Vicky Mason challenged the attendees to imagine what life in the municipality would be like if gender equity was a reality.

She highlighted benefits in workplaces, in the community, and in early years and education, for both sexes.

“As agencies across Greater Bendigo, we all have a role to play,” Ms Mason said.

“This is not short-term work, this is long-term work.”

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Click on the image to enlarge.