This is a project that tackles the pressures some women, especially migrant and refugee women face from society, communities, families and friends to adhere to particular beauty standards. This has led many women and young girls to develop serious mental health issues including eating disorders, negative body image, and risk taking behaviours by engaging in harmful practices. In fact a research by Liptember revealed that 38% of women from migrant and refugee backgrounds are experiencing negative body image.
The project aims work with a select group of women from multicultural backgrounds in a co design process to discuss and unpack the issues faced by women and girls in their respective communities relating to body image, beauty standards, risks to health and harmful behaviours. The workshops will be run using an intersectional feminist lens to raise awareness about the subjugation of women, where the pressure is coming from and why, how the concept of beauty varies from culture to culture, and the racial undertones that non-white women internalise as they attempt to change their looks to conform to western standards of beauty.
The co -designers will then develop under the guidance of a visual artist, a set of posters and social messages that assert women’s value, pride and integrity, and encouraging women to own and cherish their bodies and physical appearance as nature’s precious gifts. The resources developed will then be launched at a large event for wider use.
We expect this project to lead to the following outcomes:
Wellsprings will collect data, surveys, case studies, and reflections from the women involved and feedback from social media posts.
The project's findings will be used to inform further work on this subject and to partner with more agencies committed to improving women's health and wellbeing and status in society.
We will also be able to hold seminars regarding this subject.
Wellsprings for Women was established in 1994 as a women-only community based organisation offering safe space for women, to gather, learn, support each other, and participate in a range of programs. It grew into becoming a neighbourhood house and a Learn Local that is open to women 6 days a week. The majority of the women who come to Wellsprings are from migrant and refugee backgrounds. They come to learn English, computer skills, acquire employability skills, get support with parenting their children, accessing other services, seeking emergency relief or material aid. Wellsprings’ work on gender equality and Prevention of Violence against women, led us to identify gaps in service provision to women from migrant and refugee backgrounds experiencing family violence. So since 2020, we established a team of bicultural, bilingual case workers who support and assist women impacted by family violence. Our work is trauma informed, intersectional and grass roots. We engage with over 2000 women a year and over 250 children. We employ 25 EFT and have over 40 volunteers.