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Women’s community
health

Women have both general population and specific health needs. Women's community health centres work within the social model of health and play an important role in our community, offering a variety of services and health promotion based on the needs of women and girls in their local community.

What is women’s community health?

Women and girls continue to face new and ongoing health and wellbeing challenges. Western Australia has some great health services that are helping people in our community achieve good health outcomes and longevity. However, we recognise that there are differences in health outcomes – between women and men and between different groups of women and girls within our State. 

Women’s community health services play an important role in our community and offer a variety of services and health promotion based on the needs of women and girls in their local community. Women’s health services work within the social model of health, the same model we work within at the Centre, and recognise that the social determinates of health are mostly responsible for health inequalities. We recognise that violence against women is a powerful social determinate of women’s health.

Women’s community health services increase access to services for vulnerable, marginalised and disadvantaged women with significant health complexities and experiences of violence. Women’s health centres promote the view that gender equality is needed to prevent violence against women and that the use of gender transformative health messages has a positive outcome. It is understood that education addressing knowledge, attitudes, self-determination and impact on health literacy is required. Women’s health services provide a safe space, use trauma informed models and frameworks, and have specialist staff in the areas of family and domestic violence and sexual health.   

What is the social model of health?

The social model of health is based on the accepted premise that the health of individuals, families and communities is understood within the broader context in which people live. This model recognises the impact of social, environmental, economic, biological and gender factors on health outcomes, and that the social determinants of health are largely responsible for health inequities.

Source: Dahlgren and Whitehead, 1991

The World Health Organisation defines the social determinates of health as the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.  The social determinates of health are the non-medical factors that influence health outcomes, including:

Addressing the social determinates of health is fundamental for improving women's health and reducing health inequalities.

The guiding principles of
women's community
health services

Other specific information and resources on women’s health can be found in the Knowledge Centre.

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