A sold-out two day national conference
On 27 and 28 February, Multicultural Centre for Women's Health hosted a two-day conference, Advancing the Evidence: Migrant Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Conference at the Novotel Hotel in Melbourne.
The conference brought together over 160 delegates to discuss migrant and refugee women’s sexual and reproductive health in Australia. Over 50 experts from community, health and academic sectors participated in panel discussions and delivered presentations on various topics, including perinatal care, reproductive coercion, domestic violence, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and migrant women's access to health services.
Conference Alice Han
The rights of migrant and refugee women are enshrined internationally. It's up to us to recognise these rights.
Key issues identified
Conference delegates identified a number of migrant women's sexual and reproductive health issues. Migrant women on temporary visas and their access to sexual and reproductive health care services were identified as the key concern that required urgent action and collective advocacy efforts.
What you can do
Take action and advocate for migrant women on temporary visas’ access to sexual and reproductive health services by contacting your local Member of Parliament (MP). You can use our letter template as a guide.
Please share this template and encourage your network to contact their MPs. The more letters sent, the more change we can see.
Draft Letter Requesting Action Regarding Migrant Women on Temporary Visas
Dear [Title] [Last name] Topic Title: Advocating for women on temporary visas’ right to sexual and reproductive healthcare
First paragraph: Say who you are/who you represent/what your organisation is.
Example: I am a concerned health worker or, I am, the Executive Director of the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH). MCWH is a national, community-based organisation which is led by and for women from immigrant and refugee backgrounds. MCWH advocates for migrant women’s access to equitable health services.
Second paragraph: Say why you are writing to them.
Example: I am writing to ask you to take action to ensure that women on temporary visas have access to affordable sexual and reproductive healthcare.
Third paragraph: Set out why action on these priorities is important to you and/or important in the context of your community. Local data is useful here.
Example: Australia has over 2.4 million temporary migrants who contribute significantly to the economic, social and cultural life of the nation. A large proportion of temporary migrants are women. However, they do not currently have access to affordable sexual and reproductive healthcare. The government needs to take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women and to ensure appropriate services in connection with sexual and reproductive health.
Fourth paragraph: Set out the specific ask you have of them. Outline how they can take action.
Example: To ensure that migrant women on temporary visas have sufficient information to access reproductive healthcare and that health services are aware of their obligation to provide services, I ask that this become a priority for your party for your forthcoming election and that you will pursue implementation of it if you are elected to government.
Closing paragraph: Thank them for considering your matter and inform them of a date to respond by. Tell them of other advocacy you are undertaking with respect to this matter. Include your contact details for follow up.
Example: I thank you for your consideration of these concerns regarding migrant women on temporary visas. I look forward to receiving your response by 1 June 2020. I can be contacted on (03) 9318 0999 during office hours.
[Your signature] [Name] [Title] [If appropriate, your title and organisation name]