THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
THE HON CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
WOMEN’S HEALTH WEEK – CELEBRATE PROGRESS BUT MORE WORK TO DO
Women’s Health Week is an opportunity to highlight health challenges facing women in Australia today, and a reminder than not all Australian women have equal access to health.
The Jean Hailes Women’s Health Survey 2017 provides a snapshot of some of the changing health issues women are dealing with today:
- Approximately 60% of women are not taking part in at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity per week
- Only a quarter of women underwent a screen for sexually transmitted infections in the last 5 years
- Approximately 16% of women were identified as being moderately anxious over the last two weeks.
While life expectancy for Australian women is 4.2 years longer than Australian men, this headline figure masks persistent inequalities in outcomes for some population groups, in access to health services, and the prevalence of risk factors in Australian women and girls.
Life expectancy for Indigenous women is 10.6 years lower, and they are twice as likely to die from complications of pregnancy or childbirth as non-Indigenous women.
Reproductive and sexual health outcomes vary across population groups – with age, sex, socioeconomic background, cultural background and geographic location hugely impacting a woman’s reproductive and sexual health, and ability or willingness to access health services.
Only half of Australian women can legally access an abortion – for the other half, they live in a location where it is classified as a crime. One in 25 women who has an abortion has to travel interstate to have it.
Women’s Health Week is an opportunity to reflect on these issues and commit to change.
Australia’s future health system must be more responsive to the needs of women. Because when women look after their health, the entire community benefits.