Supporting women within the Bellarine

Member for Bellarine Alison Marchant. (supplied)

In a historic moment, for the first time ever in our state’s history, gender parity was achieved across the Victorian parliament.

Equal women and men representing our wonderful state.

And what this means, is that policies and initiatives will reflect the diverse needs and interests of our entire community, while making long lasting benefits to everyone.

For me, International Women’s Day is a chance to recognise and celebrate the women across the Bellarine communities.

In the Bellarine we are seeing more girls and women playing and coaching sport. We have women in leadership roles from schools, community organisations and emergency services.

Groups across the Bellarine, such as Women in Local Democracy (WILD), Bellarine Women’s Network, VIEW Clubs, Barwon Heads Country Women’s Association and Bellarine Women’s Workshop are fostering connections, supporting well-being, and empowering women to thrive.

Countless volunteers, often women, dedicate their time and efforts in making our communities the vibrant tapestry that it is.

Despite our progress, there are still challenges to overcome. The Victorian government’s landmark Women’s Health Survey found that four in 10 Victorian women live with chronic pain and 20 percent had skipped social activities because of their health. It’s clear that neglecting women’s health holds back not only women and girls but our entire community from reaching its full potential.

The Victorian government is therefore taking real steps to addressing this issue and improve the lives for women. We’re doing this through:

– dedicated women’s health clinics, plus sexual and reproductive health hubs;

– nation-leading public IVF services;

– free pads and tampons in public places;

– establishing Victoria’s first clinic for women’s heart health;

– a landmark inquiry into women’s pain, and

– a gender equality strategy – empowering women regardless of their background.

I am immensely proud to be part of a government that listens, that acts, and that strives to make our communities safe, healthy, and supportive for everyone.

Together, let us continue to champion the cause of equality within our Bellarine communities, paving the way for a brighter and more prosperous future for everyone.

Happy International Women’s Day.