Making moves in gender equality through community grants

Anchor and Different Journeys will support women through creative expression and event hosting after receiving grants. Picture: UNSPLASH.

Grants have been awarded to two outer eastern organisations to help them in supporting and empowering women.

Homelessness and foster care service Anchor received $10,000, while autism awareness and support not-for-profit Different Journeys was awarded $5000 in the investing in women grassroots program by the State Government.

The funding program aims to improve gender stereotypes and health and wellbeing, while creating respect and better economic outcomes for women.

Anchor will use the grant for its Heart Through Art Project aiming to “support creative expression and foster a sense of safety and connection” for those overcoming homelessness.

“ Female and non-binary artists will conduct workshops exploring the impact of gender stereotypes and envisioning future communities,” the project outline states.

“The project includes workshops on Wurundjeri culture, creative art therapy sessions facilitated by a female identifying arts therapist, and photography sessions documenting gendered experiences.”

A community exhibition will be held at the conclusion of the project to showcase the work of the participants and invite broader interaction and discussion.

Different Journeys aim to fill a gap for women, girls and gender-diverse people who often face more barriers in receiving an autism diagnosis or accessing support.

“Diagnosis of autism in women is often late in life, resulting in systemic, life-long disadvantages to autistic women in employment, education, their personal and social lives. Many women fill caring roles, which impacts their ability to pursue their own goals and needs,” the proposal reads.

“These barriers also prevent women from engaging with Different Journeys’ existing services, which are often male or child-dominated spaces due to the prevalence of male and child diagnosis compared to women.”

Looking to change that, Different Journeys will look to “open the door” for women to “provide holistic empowerment and accessibility” led by them to alter the perception that they can’t do something or are unable to join spaces.

“[The focus will be on] women’s needs, wishes and leadership to design, carry out and evaluate our women’s events.

“We will create a women’s group for the project, focusing on women who are autistic or disabled, carers, LGBTQIA+, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or culturally diverse.”

The project will look at gender, respect, women’s rights, leadership and confidence through the hosting of two to three events throughout the year, planned and evaluated by these women.

“We hope to provide a new way for autistic women who are not carers to enter the Different Journeys community as they first begin to explore their diagnosis, which will allow us to support them throughout their lives and their individual journeys.”

Minister for women Natalie Hutchins said these community organisations are an important part of advancing gender equality.

“We’re making in-roads towards a better future for all women, and recognise grassroots programs have a vital role to play in leading communities towards a more equal Victoria,” she said.