Women’s Health Matters is an independent, non-partisan think tank that works to improve the health and wellbeing of all women in the ACT and surrounding region. We seek to improve access to health information and enhance knowledge and understanding about the causes of health and illness among anyone who identifies as a woman.
We advocate on behalf of all ACT women, especially those experiencing disadvantage and vulnerability. We want women to feel in control of and understand the determinants of their own health and wellbeing.
We do this through health promotion and by providing evidence-based social research, policy development and advocacy services to governments, the corporate sector, policy makers, service providers and peak bodies.
Our Purpose – why we’re here
We are the voice for women’s health and wellbeing in the ACT.
Our Goals – what we want to achieve
Our local research, evidence and data (informed by women for women) is used by decision makers to be more responsive to the needs of women and to improve the health and wellbeing of women in the ACT.
Our guidance supports ACT women to make informed health and wellbeing choices and to understand how to access appropriate gender-sensitive services and information in the ACT.
We focus on the needs and experiences of all ACT women.
In demonstrating women focused
- We value women’s lived experience.
- We are informed by women’s voices.
- We bring attention to gendered inequalities.
- We draw from feminist theory and gender analysis.
- We focus on issues that affect women’s bodies, including women’s sexual and reproductive health.
- We explore and advocate on social policies and programs through a gendered lens to ensure they meet the needs of all women.
We act with honesty and are guided by ethical and moral principles in all that we do.
In demonstrating integrity
- We are reliable.
- We are respectful.
- We are trustworthy and demonstrate trust in each other.
- We follow ethical research practices.
We believe that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities and work towards this goal.
In demonstrating social justice
- We strive for gender and health equity.
- We adopt inclusive practices and strive for social inclusion of women from all backgrounds and of all abilities.
- We focus on the social determinants of women’s health.
- We prioritise the needs of women who are subjected to marginalisation.
Women’s Health Matters was established in Canberra in 1990 as The Canberra Women’s Health Centre to respond to unmet need identified by ACT women’s refuges and the ACT Government Women’s Health Service. At the 1990 opening, Professor Dorothy Broom, an expert in women’s health and life member of Women’s Health Matters since 2011, said:
“It is the business of this Centre to facilitate us, as women, to reclaim knowledge of and responsibility for our own bodies and our own health.”
In the mid 1990s, the name was changed to Women’s Centre for Health Matters to acknowledge the Centre as a distinct service and avoid confusion with the government’s Women’s Health Service. The many essential services Women’s Health Matters provided to ACT Women at that time included:
- The Women’s Health Information Line, a registered nurse operated service providing confidential information on women’s health issues, referral, phone counselling and support for 30 hours a week.
- A Women’s Health Library offering a large range of pamphlets, books, videos and audio cassettes to replace out of date hard copy books.
Over the years the Women’s Health Matters has constantly evolved to meet the changing needs of women in Canberra. Today, the emphasis has moved from a direct service delivery model towards a community development, building capacity approach using the social determinants of health model. With this change has come a new focus on identifying and responding to the unmet health and wellbeing needs of ACT women through social research, advocacy, policy development, information provision and health promotion.
Our history: Celebrating 30 Years Read more »
Our history: Celebrating 25 Years Read more »
Our history: Celebrating 20 Years Read more »