A message from the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health Executive Director
MCWH is extremely concerned about the health and wellbeing of migrant communities, particularly migrant women in the 11 ‘hot zone’ suburbs under Stage 3 restrictions, and public housing towers in Flemington and North Melbourne under lockdown.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected migrant women and their access to support services. They have been hardest hit by job and income losses, while taking on the lion’s share of responsibility for caring, housework and family support. They are at higher risk of family violence and social isolation, yet are less likely to have access to the information, support and services they need.
Throughout the crisis, the provision of multilingual information and support to migrant women has been manifestly inadequate. MCWH has strongly advocated for migrant women’s leadership in the prevention of COVID-19 transmissions. There is a need for trained peer health educators to positively engage communities with tailored, accurate and multilingual information and support. This type of support has never been more important.
While the Victorian government has engaged multicultural community leaders over the last month, women community leaders have been overlooked. It is time to listen to migrant women about their experiences and needs to ensure that they can access specific support throughout this crisis. Migrant women’s leadership is crucial to an effective, community-based, preventative response to the pandemic.
We are calling on the Victorian Government to meet with, and listen to, migrant women and their representative organisations, and to recognise their central role in multicultural community leadership. Migrant women’s organisations should be supported to reach out to migrant women who live in the designated ‘hot zones’ and high-density public housing across Victoria with multilingual information, support and services and to play a central role in strengthening the community response to COVID-19.
Dr Adele Murdolo, Executive Director
Organisations endorsing this statement:
- Women’s Health Victoria
- Women’s Health Grampians
- Women’s Health Goulburn North East
- Queen Victoria Women’s Centre
- Gender and Women’s Health Unit, MSPGH, University of Melbourne
- Women’s Health in the North
- Gender Equity Victoria
- Women’s Health Lodden Mallee
- Gippsland Women’s Health
- Women’s Health and Wellbeing Barwon South West
- Women’s Health West
- Australian Bosnian Women’s Association “Žena Ženi” Inc
- Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association
- Women’s Health East
- Disability and Health Unit, MSPGH, University of Melbourne
- Birth for Humankind
- Professor Sara Charlesworth, Director of the Centre for People Organisation & Work, RMIT University
- ASCOLTA Women’s Group
- Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University
- No to Violence
- Shakti Migrant & Refugee Women’s Support Group Melbourne Inc.
- The Silent Witness Network
- Women with Disabilities Victoria
- Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights
- Harmony Alliance
- Women’s Association South East Melbourne Australia (WASEMA) Inc.
For media enquiries please contact Mi@mcwh.com.au.