Beyond Her Lens: Stories of Resilience

A photographic exhibition exploring women's resilience through the pandemic

Beyond Her Lens presents an insightful and resonant picture of women in Bendigo and their response to an unprecedented global crisis.

Fifteen women have turned the camera on themselves, their families, and their neighbourhoods, sharing intimate moments of their lives in Bendigo during a pandemic.

This photographic exhibition explores how local women have drawn on their strength and resilience, as the impact of COVID continues to unfold and present new challenges.

 Photographers in the series come from various levels of skill and experience behind the lens, with most images captured on smartphones. The exhibition is part of a series of community projects across the Loddon Mallee to address women’s wellbeing and connectedness throughout the pandemic.

Exhibition opening hours: June 1 - 7 • 9 AM – 6 PM
Venue: Bendigo Library, 259 Hargreaves Street

 Women in the Pandemic:

The disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women has been a common theme through COVID-related commentary. The pandemic has both magnified and exacerbated deep pre-existing, structural gendered inequalities. The impacts for women will be long-lasting, potentially resulting in long-term disadvantage and economic insecurity.

Women have been more likely to be affected by job losses and to suffer severe financial impacts, resulting in significant consequences for their pay and economic security.

Women have also shouldered the burden of increased household demands, including caring for children because of school closures, caring for unwell family members and managing increased levels of anxiety in young people.

The heightened risk of family violence during the pandemic has been well documented. Globally, evidence suggests that family violence, perpetrated by men against women, is exacerbated during emergency situations. Family violence data from 2020 and 2021 in Victoria confirms this, as does data across other regions.

Personal stories can be incredibly powerful in communicating ideas, shifting attitudes, and changing systems. By sharing these local perspectives, we hope to keep the conversation going so we can work together to advance gender equity and ensure women’s expertise, knowledge and experiences are valued in emergency planning and response.

 The Five Ways to Wellbeing:

 Each photo series explores one or more of the 5 principles for personal wellbeing.

 Five Ways to Wellbeing is a framework that sets out simple actions to improve personal wellbeing, backed by extensive international research. The principles of wellbeing include connect, give, keep learning, be active, and take notice.

About the Project:

This project is a collaboration between Bendigo Community Health Services and Women’s Health Loddon Mallee, made possible with support from the Victorian State Government.

About Bendigo Community Health Services:

Bendigo Community Health Services delivers more than 50 programs and services across the region, playing a critical role in helping people lead healthier lives.

 We focus on the person and their strengths, factoring in their life experience and understanding they are the expert in their own lives.

Our programs and services are broad, reflecting the diverse needs of our community.

They include (and are not limited to) alcohol and other drugs counselling and withdrawal services, chronic disease management, sexual health, community education, mental health counselling and programs, exercise physiology, health promotion, refugee settlement, a needle syringe program, physiotherapy, workplace education and youth services.

BCHS also helps people manage specific health needs, such as podiatry and living with chronic conditions such as diabetes, respiratory or heart disease.

Our critical work reduces the pressure on our public hospitals and the broader public healthcare system.

We also advocate on behalf of the many and diverse communities we work with, to effect systemic change that will lead to more positive outcomes for all.

We are committed to amplifying the voices of the people we work with, to ensure the healthcare system reflects their needs – and in particular those with intersecting experiences.

About Women’s Health Loddon Mallee:

Women’s Health Loddon Mallee lead change by advocating for the health and wellbeing of all women across the Loddon Mallee Region, with a strategic focus on sexual and reproductive health, primary prevention of violence against women, mental health, and gender equity.

WHLM recognises that women in our communities are diverse and have a variety of needs, circumstances and aspirations that affect their lives and their health. They are committed to working towards a future that sees equitable distribution of power and resources across all gender groups.

Their team of health promotion professionals work to enhance gender equity by providing health information, education and support for local and regional organisations, local government, education providers, and community groups.