Meet our Gender Equality Officer

02 December 2021

Headshot of Sulochana Colombage

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign (25 November-10 December) is a call to action highlighting that gender-based violence against women is a violation of human rights.

Gender equity is a priority within healthAbility's Community Health – Health Promotion plans, and we are committed to ending gender-based violence for all our staff, consumers and our community.

We chatted to our Gender Equality Officer, Sulochana Colombage, to find out more about her role and how she is working to promote gender equality within our organisation and community.

Can you explain more about your role as Gender Equality Officer?

I work as the gender equality officer with my health promotion team at healthAbility.

My role involves working in prevention of violence against women and gender equality space in partnership with eastern and northern regional member organisations and local councils in Melbourne. For example, representing the Together for Equality and Respect partnership coordinated by Women’s Health East and the Building Respectful Relationship partnership coordinated by Women’s Health in the North.

My role also involves promoting gender equality within the organisation. For example, advocating for 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based violence and looking for gender equality training opportunities and pushing our organisation’s gender equality strategy forward.

I am also involved in working with our Baby Makes 3 team, a program run by healthAbility as a prevention of family violence initiative for first time parents. I am very much involved in the adaptation work we do for culturally and linguistically diverse families within the program.

You are currently working to promote the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Why is this campaign so important?

Violence against women is one of the most widespread violations of human rights in the world and in Australia but it is also preventable.

That is why 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is important to us. It runs for 16 days starting from 25 November and ends on 10 December on International Human Rights Day. This campaign gives us a good platform to talk about the gender-based violence and inequalities in our community and our workplaces.

It also helps us build more awareness and enables us to share better tools to understand and address the root causes of gender-based violence so that all people in our community can live free from violence.

Do you have advice on how can we all embed gender equality principles in the way we live and work?

We all can embed gender equality principals by educating ourselves about gender equality and its importance to society.

We can start by observing gender stereotypes and rigid gender expectations in our day to day lives including our work lives. We can start by thinking about what can we do differently next time. Everybody loves to be equal and treated equally irrespective of their gender.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I enjoy the work I get to do on a daily basis and always enjoy working with my team. I also love the opportunities I get to meet diverse communities in Melbourne and in Australia because of the work I do.

If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence, help is available.

In an emergency, call 000

For help contact:

SafeSteps (24 hours) - 1800 015 118
EDVOS (Outer East) - 9259 4200
Orange Door (Inner East) - 1800 354 322
Orange Door (North) - 1800 319 355

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