At the Women’s Health Matter’s 20th birthday Annual General Meeting on 15 September 2011 two inaugural Life Memberships were presented to recognise outstanding service and support that had been given to the Women’s Health Matters over its 20-year history.
The inaugural awards were presented to Dorothy Broom and Sue Andrews, two women who have both given their time, effort, expertise and commitment in a voluntary capacity to Women’s Health Matters and in doing so have enhanced the organisations reputation, as well as contributing significantly to the establishment, operation and the continued future of Women’s Health Matters.
Dorothy has spent over 30 years teaching and researching gender and various aspects of the sociology of health, working as a Professor at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University. She is an expert in women’s health and women’s health centres and published Damned If We Do: Contradictions in Women’s Health Care, a political history of Australia’s feminist community health centres in 1991.
Following the release of the first National Women’s Health Policy and the allocation of funding to the states and territories, Dorothy took a lead role in the ACT consultations that eventually led to the creation of the Canberra Women’s Health Centre (later to become Women’s Health Matters). She spoke at the opening of the organisation in 1991 about its “revolutionary” nature as the first feminist health service to be funded by the National Women’s Health Policy.
Dorothy also played a pivotal role in the successful defence of a sex discrimination complaint brought against the organisation. She wrote and spoke publicly about the case and was called upon on the Commonwealth’s behalf as an expert witness to give evidence at the hearings.
Sue Andrews has made a significant contribution to the Women’s Health Matters over time. Sue Andrews is a feminist with a passion for women’s health activism and social justice and was instrumental in establishing the Women’s Health Matters. She helped organise the initial community consultations that led to the establishment of what was to be the Canberra Women’s Health Centre. From 1989 to 1990 she was on the interim management committee charged with setting up the organisation and was a member of the Women’s Health Matters first management committee until 1993. Sue helped to organise the organisation’s inaugural public meeting and the official opening in 1991.
Three months after the opening, when a sex discrimination case was lodged against the organisation, Sue invested her time and energy into fighting the case to secure the future of Women’s Health Matters and other women’s services.
Sue has remained a supporter of the Women’s Health Matters for many years and has continued to work on issues related to gender and women’s health. In the early 1990s She worked for Family Planning Australia, and then as the ACT Women’s Health Adviser until 1998. She was Manager of the Women’s Policy Unit in the Chief Minister’s Department until 2001 and authored a number of instrumental reports for the ACT Government, including a Review of Sexual Assault Services in the ACT. Sue went on to complete her PhD in Women’s Studies at the Australian National University.