Newsletter - May 2021

Welcome to our May newsletter!

Hi there - I'm Adelaide Haynes and I commenced several months ago as Women's Health Matters Communications and Administration Officer. As Marcia is currently on leave, it's a pleasure to be providing an update on all of the wonderful things we've been up to for the month of May. 

Despite temperatures dropping to below zero (something I, as a coastal woman, have been struggling with), things have been heating up in the Women's Health Matters Office with plenty of projects and initiatives taking place.

Women from Multicultural Backgrounds Focus Groups

We received an overwhelming response to our survey, hearing from women from multicultural backgrounds. Julia Tran will be conducting focus groups in the coming weeks to dive deeper into the experiences of women from multicultural backgrounds in accessing health services.

If you or someone you know is interested in participating in a focus group, please get in touch. 

Women with Disabilities research 

We have been working away at our social research project about women with disabilities' experience of health services, and their overall health and wellbeing. 

This research has highlighted significant barriers to health services for women with disabilities in the ACT. Additionally, this research has highlighted psycho-social impairment as one of the main disabilities experienced by women and highlights the need for gender-specific responses in addressing mental health in a nuanced and individualised way.

The report is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks. A huge congratulations to Amber Hutchison and Nida Mollison who have worked incredibly hard on this important project.

Sexual Assault Survey 

We also received an overwhelming response to our survey that aims to understand women's experiences of seeking help following a sexual assault. We have since used preliminary findings in discussions with Ministers and key stakeholders.

Pip Courtney-Bailey has been analyzing the data and we hope to circulate key findings in the coming weeks. 


As we enter winter and flu season, ACT Health are advising women to talk to their GP about receiving a flu vaccine. While you're there, check your eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine. Remember these vaccines must be administered several weeks apart so chat to your GP, make a plan, and book your appointment today. 

Book recommendation

This month, I found myself absorbed in the conversation around burnout, particularly the story and experiences of Yumiko Kadota. Yumiko was working towards her dream of becoming a plastic surgeon when months of burnout led to her resignation. Earlier this year, she released her debut book Emotional Female that reflects on her journey navigating a toxic workplace, mental and physical health, and standing up for herself. 

Amber and I attended an event this month brilliantly organised by the YWCA as part of their She Leads In Conversation Events, featuring a conversation between Yumiko Kadota and Rasi Gupta. The conversation tackled topics of stress, bullying, and burnout, with Kadota explaining what it is beautifully;

"Burnout is a failure of the system, not the person experiencing the burnout.” It is the result of a system that has failed to provide these flexible, meaningful, and supportive jobs to an employee; burnout is not typically the result of the employee being unequipped to handle the demands of the job. Burnout is also not characterised by age or experience level. Rather, it’s the failure of a workplace or career ecosystem to care for its employees."

After the stressful and uncertain 18 months we've all experienced, I invite you to read this book and start a conversation with your friends and colleagues. Not because I think you might be burnt out or overly stressed, but because it's always important to check in with yourself, with others and ask for help when we need it. 

I hope you enjoy this book and the subsequent discussions you have as much as I enjoyed engaging with the event and the topic of looking after yourself in the workplace. 

Keep an eye on our Facebook and Linkedin pages for more updates on our work and until next time, we wish everyone a safe, warm, and healthy start to Winter.
- Adelaide
Listen to the podcast episode on burnout

National Reconciliation Week

Women’s Health Matters is committed to reconciliation and acknowledges the First Australians whose cultures are among the oldest living cultures in human history, as the traditional custodians of this continent.

We also recognise the history of dispossession experienced by the First Australians and the impact this has and continues to have on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

We recognise the Ngunnawal People as the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work, and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

We recognise the strength of Aboriginal women and their continuing connection and contribution to this land, these waters, and our communities.
May we walk gently and treat the earth and each other with care and respect.

Move from safe to brave on issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by looking at the 20 actions for reconciliation in 2021. 

Artwork by Jessica Johnson. Read more about Jessica and her story here.
20 actions for reconciliation

Capital Chicks CANberra Project

This month, Amber has been working away on an evaluation of the Capital Chicks CANberra (CCC) Initiative which is an online platform established by our friends at Diabetes NSW & ACT. The initiative is a one-stop shop for health information and support to address gestational and type 2 diabetes.
Did you know?

  • Gestational diabetes impacts 5-10% of pregnant women?
  • Up to 70% of women that have had gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes?
  • Healthy lifestyle factors such as eating healthy and doing physical activity are the main ways to reduce your risk of gestational and type 2 diabetes?

Our evaluation, “It has made my life healthier” Outcome evaluation of the Capital Chicks CANberra Initiative, women have reported since using CCC that they are now more aware of factors influencing gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes and 50% have made changes in their behaviour. Most women found the platform useful, and were able to better manage their health after using it.

If your organisation would like to utilise our research expertise, please get in touch with us at 

Email us to get involved

A special celebration

On the 30th of April, we celebrated our 30th birthday. On a clear and balmy April's evening, overlooking beautiful Ngunnawal Country, we came together to reflect and celebrate the milestone of being the voice for ACT women for over three decades. 
Board Chair, Renee Dockrill kicked off the event, followed by a special and heartfelt Welcome to Country by Aunty Violet Sheridan. We were honoured to hear from the woman who contributed to the establishment of Women's Health Matters back in 1991, Dorothy Broom, before Minister Yvette Berry addressed us with her thoughtful video message. We heard from Minister Emma Davidson and Shadow Minister Nicole Lawder as they reflected on the contribution Women's Health Matters has made to our community. We finished the night with Marcia Williams reflecting on her time as CEO and acknowledging the many people who have contributed to the success of the organisation.

We sincerely thank everyone in our community who have supported us over the past 30 years. We are deeply grateful to the women of the ACT who have shared their experiences and trusted us with their stories to advocate for and improve services and policies in the ACT. 
View the photos from the event


What's on in June?

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for news and information relevant to women's health and wellbeing in the ACT.
Our Facebook page

Jean Hailes advice for women


PMS and PMDD and you

Along with physical premenstrual symptoms, between 3-8% of women experience debilitating mood or psychological symptoms that interfere with their daily lives and even prevent some women from holding down a job. This is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). 

Published with the permission of Jean Hailes for Women's Health.

Read more about PMS and PMDD
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Women's Centre for Health Matters · PO Box 385 · Mawson · Canberra, Act 2607 · Australia

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