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Specialist Streams

Migrant and Refugee Women 

Australia is one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world. A significant proportion of the Australian female population comprises women from non-English speaking backgrounds born overseas, or with one or both parents born overseas. Migrant and refugee women experience poorer health outcomes and are less likely than Australian-born or English speaking women to take health related action when ill. More robust, culturally appropriate health strategies are needed to adequately address the complex health needs of migrant and refugee women. 


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women

Women and mothers play a special role in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. They often manage the health of their children, partners and extended family members. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women however continue to have poorer health outcomes than non-Aboriginal women. Compared to Aboriginal men, Aboriginal women are more likely to have one or more chronic health conditions and are at higher risk of early-onset disease, with lower survival rates. Furthermore, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are expected to live 11 years less than non-Indigenous women. Closing the Gap in Indigenous health, inclusive of women’s health, remains an urgent challenge for the health sector.


Rural and Remote Women

Women in rural and remote areas of Australia present different health and wellbeing outcomes to those residing in urban areas. Life expectancy is lower, with increased incidence and morbidity rates for some diseases, as well as higher rates of hospitalisation. For women of all ages, a risk factor that consistently increases with distance from major cities is obesity. Prevalence and incidence of conditions associated with obesity, such as diabetes and hypertension, are also higher for women in rural and remote areas. Women in these areas generally have less access to health services, with shortages of almost all health professions and health-related infrastructure.
 

Women with Disability

While disability issues affect both men and women, women with disabilities experience significantly poorer health outcomes than the general female population and are one of the most socially disadvantaged groups in Australian society. A noticeable challenge is the difficulty accessing health information for issues such as managing menstruation, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, reproductive health, violence and sexual assault. In Australia, there is little research available on the health needs of women with disabilities. More investment and research is needed to develop appropriate solutions to meet the health gaps for this group of women.
 

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mental Health and Wellbeing One-in-five women in Australia will experience depression, and one-in-three women will experience anxiety during their lifetime. Depression and anxiety conditions can happen at any life stage; however, the risk increases during pregnancy and the year following the birth of a baby. Violence against women is another prevalent societal issue that affects women’s mental health and wellbeing. In Australia, one-in-three women have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime. The risk of violence increases again for certain female demographics, pregnant women and women with disabilities are at higher risk of having violence perpetrated against them. Addressing the breadth and complexities of mental health and wellbeing, as well as the intersections of other related issues such as violence, remains a high priority on the women’s health agenda. 


Healthy Ageing

A significant proportion of the population comprises older individuals, as people are living longer lives. New figures report that women will continue to outlive men by 4.6 years. Ageing presents both challenges and opportunities and, while life expectancy has increased, so has the incidence of serious illnesses, such as depression and diabetes. An older population increases demand for primary healthcare and long-term care, calls for a better trained workforce and intensifies the need for environments to be more age-friendly. Building systems and implementing strategies to respond to the changing health needs of ageing women is not only a societal investment, but also allows women to participate in their communities across all life stages in meaningful ways.

 

More information

 

Email[email protected]

Phone: (03) 9412 2991

Download the Priorities Document


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