WOMEN from diverse backgrounds experience higher levels of family violence and discrimination, and Women's Health Grampians is sharing their stories in a series of short films.
The health organisation recently employed 11 women from diverse backgrounds, including women of colour, women living disability, or women who identify as LGBTIQA+, as advocates for its Equality For All project in a bid to tackle discrimination.
The advocates are working with WHG's member organisations in western Victoria.
Each advocate has made a short film in which they recount a lived experience of discrimination or family violence, which launches Tuesday.
Regional consultant, health promotion Kate Diamond-Keith said women from diverse backgrounds don't just experience gender discrimination but also able-ism, homophobia or other forms of discrimination.
"They are compounded together," she said.
"Equality For All is about asking those core members to think about women from diverse backgrounds when they are addressing gender inequality. It's that next step."
One of the advocates is Horsham-based Bernie O'Shannessy, who lives with a disability.
Ms O'Shannessy said women with diverse backgrounds frequently encountered assumptions about their own abilities.
"People don't expect you can do much or don't expect much from you," she said. "Often I'll be talked down to and people will start to talk slowly to me as if I don't understand."
Ms O'Shannessy said fighting these assumptions is the first thing she has to do every time she meets someone new.
"It can wear you down," she said.
"Don't assume anything. Just accept the person as you would any other, get to know them and don't anticipate any problems. If they do arise then work together to get through them."
Ms O'Shannessy said she had spoken to migrant women who had been denied jobs after they were called in for an interview based on false assumptions about their intelligence or English skills, and others who were denied loans because financial institutions assumed they would be unable to repay them.
"But they were highly paid nurses or teachers at university," she said.
The videos will be launched Tuesday at the Alexandra Oval Community Centre, Ararat at 11am. The launch is open to all.
Once the videos have launched they will be available online here.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday morning from The Ararat Advertiser. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Ararat shire, sign up here.