A consortia of 12 Women’s Health Services and Gender Equity Victoria (GEN VIC) have employed 50 migrant and refugee women to form a rapid response workforce to train women to disseminate COVID-19 information and deliver multilingual women’s health education in over 20 different languages to communities, in a project funded though the Working for Victoria initiative.
Led by the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH), the Workforce of Multilingual Health Educators (or ‘WOMHEn’) Project establishes a much-needed multilingual women’s health education infrastructure across the state.
“Our new employees, who are all from culturally diverse backgrounds, are building the health and wellbeing of migrant and refugee women across every region of Victoria” said Tanja Kovac, CEO GEN VIC. “We were overwhelmed by the number of applications for the roles reminding us of the ongoing unemployment problems for women in our State.”
“Recruitment for the project not only highlighted the gendered impacts of COVID-19 but also that migrant and refugee women have been disproportionately impacted. They are over-represented in precarious employment within essential services and under-represented in the gender equality and gendered violence prevention sector,” said MCWH Executive Director, Dr Adele Murdolo.
The WOMHEn Project will place trained health educators within women’s health services in each region of Victoria to enable migrant women to enhance their health and wellbeing during the pandemic.
“We need to ensure that Victoria’s COVID-19 response and recovery is equitable and inclusive, and that migrant women have the best opportunities to experience the same health and wellbeing outcomes as other Victorians,” said Dr Murdolo.
“The WoMHEn Project highlights the positive returns that can be made with targeted investment in programs that support gender equity within the Victorian labour force,” said Ms Kovac.
Tanja Kovac Dr Adele Murdolo
CEO, GEN VIC Executive Director, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health