WHV’s submission focuses on young women’s mental health, physical health, sexual and reproductive health and the prevention of violence against women, drawing on our areas of expertise and highlighting the importance of promoting gender equality to address poor health outcomes across all these areas.
This submission is informed by the following principles:
1. Apply an intersectional gender equity approach across the strategy to ensure it addresses the diverse needs of young people
2. Take a whole-of-government approach in order to address the social determinants of young people’s health and wellbeing
3. Ensure a strong focus on primary prevention and early intervention across the strategy to support young people’s health, wellbeing and inclusion
WHV makes the following recommendations:
Recommendation 1: Focus efforts on promoting gender equality as a contributing factor to improve outcomes for young women across all outcome domains of the Victorian Youth Strategy.
Recommendation 2: Invest in an intersectional gender-sensitive approach to youth mental health promotion to address the drivers of poor mental health among girls and young women, including gender inequality.
Recommendation 3: Take an intersectional, trauma-informed and gender-responsive approach to delivery of youth mental health services.
Recommendation 4: Address barriers to help-seeking among young women.
Recommendation 5: Take an intersectional gender-sensitive approach to health promotion, including addressing structural barriers and enablers for healthy behaviours.
Recommendation 6: Tackle the sexualisation of young women and promote positive body image.
Recommendation 7: Focus on health, not weight in all interventions that aim to improve young women’s physical health.
Recommendation 8: Invest in an evidence-based approach to comprehensive whole-of-school sexuality and relationships education within Victorian schools.
Recommendation 9: Ensure youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services are available in all regions of Victoria.
Recommendation 10: Strengthen the focus on sexual assault and harassment in initiatives to prevent and respond to violence against women.
Recommendation 11: Scale up efforts to promote gender equality and prevent violence against women in the media and advertising settings.
Recommendation 12: Strengthen the focus on challenging rigid masculine gender norms in primary prevention.
Recommendation 13: Incorporate a focus on reproductive coercion into primary prevention and response to violence against women.
Recommendation 14: Ensure a strong intersectional focus across all primary prevention initiatives, as well as continuing to roll out and scale up initiatives tailored to specific population groups.
Recommendation 15: Undertake further research to strengthen the evidence base for primary prevention of violence against women.
More information about the Victorian Youth Strategy can be found here.
Women's Health Victoria (2020) Submission to the Victorian Youth Strategy consultation. Women's Health Victoria. Melbourne