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Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health

Statewide service

Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health is a not-for-profit organisation led by immigrant and refugee women to promote women’s gender equity, health and wellbeing. We are state funded to provide leadership and coordination for the promotion of immigrant and refugee women’s health across Victoria through the regional women’s health services. We also provide multilingual health education and information to women across the state, to support them to make informed choices about their health and safety. Our approach recognises that a 

woman’s health is affected by many factors including the way she is socially positioned by her race, culture, ability, class, income, sexuality, life stage and immigration status. Our work strongly values partnerships and includes cross-cultural training, leadership and capacity building, research and advocacy.

PVAW Guide to working with immigrant and refugee communities

In 2016-17, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health was commissioned by the Women’s Health Association of Victoria to provide advice and develop resources to support best practice prevention of violence against women activity with immigrant and refugee communities, with a particular focus on regional action planning. This guide is the product of forty years’ experience working with immigrant and refugee women across Victoria and within the women’s health sector.

The PACE Program

Preventing violence begins with valuing, championing and amplifying women’s voices. Since 2010, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health has run a flexible community-based leadership program for immigrant and refugee women called PACE, which encourages women to participate, advocate, communicate and engage on issues of gender inequality.

Informed by current international best practice evidence, PACE is driven by four guiding principles to increase immigrant and refugee women's capacity to:

  • Participate in the workforce, civic and community life and leadership
  • Advocate for women’s rights and positive change
  • Communicate ideas with clarity and confidence
  • Engage with other women to strengthen our community

This has been a fantastic program
that has put fire back in my life and
I don’t want to lose this motivation
to continue doing things for myself.
It’s about time I did that.

PACE addresses the personal, interpersonal and structural issues related to women’s experiences of gender inequality. PACE centres women’s experiences and builds their personal strengths, confidence and independence in ways that equip and encourage them to pursue and participate in formal and informal leadership opportunities.

By linking women’s understanding of gender equality to their daily lives, PACE informs and supports women to act on their rights and the rights of other women. As such, PACE explicitly recognises the impact of other forms of discrimination and social inequality as inseparable from immigrant and refugee women’s specific experiences of gender inequality.

It's been such a wonderful journey for me of being part
of PACE program. I have learnt a lot from this course,
but also had the time to know other participants.

By listening to women and creating opportunities for them to build connections with one another, PACE gives women ownership and control over specific program content across the broad themes of leadership, civic participation, women’s health and wellbeing, women’s rights and preventing violence. PACE is partnership-friendly, easily adapted and is mapped for accreditation.

It has taught me to believe in myself and my abilities. I’ve learnt that I am a good teacher and communicator and that I am always learning. I learnt that I do have ambition that I thought had died within me.

Get involved

Check out the range of activities that the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health are supporting to prevent violence against women.

If you are experiencing violence, find information and support here 1800RESPECT.ORG.AU