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Systemic Advocacy within a Gender and Health Framework Kerrilie Rice Policy Officer Women’s Health Victoria. URL: http://www.whv.org.au Email: [email protected] Phone: 9662 3755. A Social View of Health Social factors or social determinants influence health and illness

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Systemic Advocacy within a Gender and Health Framework

Kerrilie Rice

Policy Officer

Women’s Health Victoria

URL: http://www.whv.org.au Email: [email protected] Phone: 9662 3755


  • A Social View of Health

    • Social factors or social determinants influence health and illness

    • Key social determinants include:

      • Socio-economic status, Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Geographic location

    • Other social determinants are:

      • Culture, Disabilities, and Sexuality


Gender and Sex

Sex: biologically determined; sex differences are the biological characteristics that differentiate women and men.

Gender: the social roles, relationships, expectations, power differences, influences, opportunities, constraints, attitudes and behaviours that a society ascribes to women and men


  • Systemic Advocacy

  • Systemic advocacy works to change a situation for a group of people or to change a system.

  • Systemic advocacy aims to:

    • Identify a problem experienced by a group of people

    • Implement a plan to achieve positive outcome for a group of people

    • Enable social justice for that group

    • Change power relations between institutions and the group of people

    • Improve the quality of lives of people within the group


  • Gender Advocacy

  • WHV uses evidence-based research to inform a practice of systemic advocacy aimed at improving women’s health and well-being.

  • It works on two levels:

    • With health providers in the translation of evidence and research into health services practice; and,

    • With public policy makers to ensure healthy public policy for women.


Gender Mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming:the (re)organisation, improvement, development and evaluation of processes so that a gendered perspective is incorporated at all levels and at all stages.

Gender mainstreaming is the aim; a gender analysis framework will help achieve it.

Gender mainstreaming focuses on systemic change.


  • Gender Analysis Framework

  • A process of questioning: ‘are things different’? and if so ‘how’? and ‘why?’

  • It is predicated upon the following:

    • All policies have an impact on men and women;

    • Policies and programs affect women and men in different ways; and,

    • Women and men are heterogenous groups of and within themselves.


  • Gender Analysis Framework ~ Cont’d

  • As a process, mainstreaming gender may be expected to:

    • Expand an organisation’s knowledge of and connection with its community of interest

    • Reduce unintended adverse consequences of policy and program implementation; and

    • Extract better value from investment in programs and services


  • Gender Analysis Framework ~ Cont’d

  • Gender analysis framework will be present in:

    • All levels of State and organisational planning;

    • The organisation’s work culture; and,

    • The range and imagination shown in their engagement with external partners and communities.



Gendered Data

Gender disaggregated statistics are critical in gauging the extent to which women and men benefit differently from programs, research, practice and policies.

Gendered data comes about when we apply a gender analysis to sex disaggregated data.


  • Victorian Gendered Data Directory

  • A gateway to data sources that provide information on the health and wellbeing of women in Victoria against an agreed set of indicators.

    • How healthy are Victoria’s women?

    • How well are we promoting healthy women?

    • What factors can affect women adversely?

    • How safe and secure are Victoria’s women?

    • How well are Victoria’s women learning and developing?

    • What kind of families and communities do Victoria’s women live in?


Victorian Gendered Data Directory

Freely accessible at:

http://www.whv.org.au/health_policy/directory.htm


  • Gender Impact Assessment

  • Monitor new and existing policies to gauge the differences experienced by women and men in terms of:

  • Representation and participation in decision making; 

  • The distribution of, and their effective access to, resources;

  • Influences on roles, attitudes, behaviours and others’

  • expectations; and,

  • Their rights, freedoms and access to justice.

  • This is undertaken to neutralise any discriminatory effects, and to enhance those aspects that promote gender equity as an outcome of policy and planning implementation.


Gender Awareness Training

Visualising and measuring how policies and programs can cause, or lead to, discriminatory effects is essential in assessing gender impacts around existing and new policy initiatives.

These conceptual and technical skills can be imparted through awareness training.


  • The Need for Gendered Analysis Framework

  • Alcohol: A case study

    • Alcohol consumption accounts for 4.9% of burden of disease

    • Research shows increased consumption and high-risk binge drinking among females

    • Women consumers of alcohol have higher rates of depression, anxiety, and neuroticism compared to males

    • Correlations made between women’s adult excess consumption of alcohol and experiences of childhood abuse and family/domestic violence

    • Women with alcohol related problems are more likely to suicide, have alcohol-related accidents, circulatory disorders and cirrhosis of the liver


  • AlcoholCase Study ~ cont’d

    • Alcohol research generally does not take gender into account

    • Research that has reveals a number of influencing factors, including, social and work roles, cultural norms, family and peer- group pressures, personal motives and values, and psychosocial and physical health reasons

    • Alcohol services and support models designed for both men and women are found inappropriate for women

    • Women respond better to female-only treatment programs

    • Policy documents generally fail to recognise impact of gender on alcohol usage


  • 10 Point Plan for Victorian Women’s Health:

  • 2006 - 2010

  • Seventeen organisations collaborated in:

    • A 10 Point Plan for Women’s Health with accompanying background paper;

    • A set of resources that highlight gender impact on health issues; and,

    • A statewide summit to advance a gender in health framework.


  • 10 Point Plan for Victorian Women’s Health:

  • 2006 - 2010

  • A Social Determinants of Health Approach

  • Gender as a Determinant of Health

  • Overarching Values

  • Priority Issues

  • High Level Cross-government Leadership

  • An Inclusive Approach

  • Honesty and Transparency

  • Resourcing and Accountability

  • Women’s Specific Services

  • Collaborative Frameworks


  • 10 Point Plan Statewide Summit

    • The Women’s Health Matters 10 Point Plan Setting an Agenda background paper sent to 450 individuals

    • The Plan was also sent to all major Victorian political parties as well as influential organisations in health promotion action


  • 10 Point Plan Statewide Summit

  • Outcomes and Impact

  • This work allowed organisations to:

    • Connect to women’s health priorities;

    • Understand policy and practice potential of gender as a social determinant of health;

    • Develop integrated health promotion plans;

    • Advocate for a statewide women’s health policy;

    • Share learnings that successful health promotion requires support at all levels and across different sectors; and,

    • Broaden the potential for intersectoral collaboration.


  • Outcomes and Impact ~ Cont’d

  • On a practical level outcomes included:

    • Acknowledgement of influence in ‘Women’s Health – Everyone’s Business: Victorian Women’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy Stage Two 2006-2010. Launched in 2006 it had 3 priority areas:

      • Mental health and wellbeing;

      • Sexual and reproductive health; and,

      • Social connectedness.

    • Work that links the mental health promotion priority action plan with the broader Victorian mental health strategy; and,

    • A statewide sexual and reproductive health strategy is being developed.


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