Women's health

The Victorian Government is transforming the way women’s health is treated in Victoria. For too long, women’s pain has been missed and dismissed.

Two women with a young child painting

A landmark survey of experiences in women’s health revealed what so many already knew to be true: women’s pain is real, and it is regularly overlooked.

Addressing the pain gap

Women told us that:

  • Four in 10 Victorian women live with chronic pain.
  • Around half of participants find that period-related conditions (heavy periods, cramping, premenstrual syndrome) affect their health and wellbeing.
  • Around 30% are affected by the symptoms of perimenopause or menopause.

To help address this ‘pain gap’, this Budget invests $18 million to continue providing preventive healthcare to Victorian women – including women's sexual and reproductive health, chronic illness and family violence. It will also ensure more women can get the timely care they need, supporting 12 women's health organisations to provide preventive and assertive community outreach and health education.

With around 50% of women experiencing pregnancy and birth complications that continue to affect their health, this Budget also invests in the wellbeing of new mums, with:

  • $498 million towards the Monash Medical Centre Redevelopment, which will deliver new birthing suites and maternity inpatient services, as well as improving connections between maternity rooms and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, so new mums can be closer to their babies.
  • $29 million to deliver Universal, Enhanced and Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health services to more families across our growing state.
  • $7.6 million to provide more community-based care to new mums in rural and regional areas, through the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program. It also secures funding for the Public Egg and Sperm Bank to provide fertility assistance.

Women also told us that:

  • 30% of them find that conditions such as endometriosis, menopause and chronic pain led to poor mental health.
  • One in three experience health conditions that affect their ability to work and keep a job.
  • 20% said they missed out on social connections because of their health.

It’s why this Budget invests in more specialised health support across Victoria, including:

  • $47 million to support the Student Health and Wellbeing Program to provide access to student support services, mental health support and the primary school nurse program within Victorian schools – services that we know are more often used by girls and LGBTIQA+ students.
  • $31 million to support people living with eating disorders, recognising that this overwhelmingly affects young women and girls. With a focus on providing early intervention, this funding will help more Victorian women recover sooner. Funding will also support bed-based treatment and care for eating disorders at Austin Health Melbourne Health and Monash Health.
  • $5.9 million on improving cancer outcomes through the Health Equity project, which will help overcome barriers to care for vulnerable patients experiencing disadvantages due to gender, age, race, intergenerational trauma, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation.
  • $2.1 million to gender-affirming care clinics and care for trans and gender diverse children and young people.
  • $1.6 million for alcohol and other drug safety services, specifically designed for First Nations people and women who are more likely to have chronic medical problems and less likely to be in paid employment.
  • $1 million to continue a peer-led sexual health service to provide important sexual health education and support for sex workers, who have traditionally faced high levels of stigma when accessing primary, sexual and mental health services.

This Budget also includes investments to make our hospitals and health infrastructure even more inclusive, with:

  • An additional $10 million to upgrade mental health facilities across Victoria, including ensuring spaces are more accessible and safe for women.
  • $5.4 million for a new mental health, alcohol and other drug emergency department hub at Ballarat Base Hospital, designed to incorporate the unique needs of women accessing specialist services.
  • Dedicated paediatric zones for children and their families as part of the Northern Hospital Redevelopment and Austin Hospital Emergency Department Upgrade.

“It’s time we stopped treating women’s health like some kind of niche issue. We deserve to have our pain believed and treated.”

- Premier Jacinta Allan

Gender responsive budgeting in action

Being active improves both physical and mental health.

Making sure kids can participate in sport at school sets them up for these benefits throughout their lives.

So when a gender impact assessment identified that girls in school are less active than boys, and that the gap continues as they get older, the Active Schools program found out why – and came up with some ideas for change.

Concerns about body image and being judged by others, and sports uniforms that weren’t culturally appropriate, were holding girls back from taking part.

By introducing more uniform options, such as sport hijabs, and ‘girls only’ sessions for different activities – participation boomed.

This shows that when we understand what girls need to participate, we can help them join in and be who they want to be.