Australian National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030

The Strategy seeks to improve health outcomes for all women and girls, particularly those at greatest risk of poor health, and is relevant for countries interested in looking at women’s health issues over the life-course, with a focus on gender and other social determinants of health.

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The Strategy seeks to improve health outcomes for all women and girls, particularly those at greatest risk of poor health. Its purpose is to: improve the health and wellbeing of all women and girls in Australia, providing appropriate, equitable and accessible prevention and care, especially for those at greatest risk of poor health. The Strategy builds on the 2010 National Women’s Health Policy, and is underpinned by the policy principles of gender equity, health equity between women, a life course approach to health, a focus on prevention and a strong and emerging evidence base with the following associated objectives:

  1. Highlight the significance of gender as a key determinant of women’s health andwellbeing, to strengthen gender-equity and gender-transformative research ands ervices, and women’s and girls’ engagement with the health system.
  2. Recognise the different health needs or priority populations, address gaps in service sand target those women’s population groups where the worst health outcomes are experienced.
  3. Develop health initiatives that focus on improving health and target risk factors and intervention points most relevant for women across the life course.
  4. Invest in positive primary prevention, secondary prevention and early intervention from childhood with a focus on social and gendered drivers of health and holistic person-centred care.
  5. .Support effective and collaborative research, data collection, monitoring and evaluation and knowledge transfer to advance the evidence base on women’s health.


There are five priority areas of focus: maternal, sexual and reproductive health; healthy ageing; chronic conditions and preventive health; mental health; and the health impacts of violence against women and girls

Gender Responsiveness Assessment Scale (GRAS) and the elements of good practice for gender mainstreaming (GM) used

Gender-specific to transformative. Based on three of the stated principles and associated objectives, the Strategy is definitely gender specific in considering women’s and girls’ specific needs and seeking to intentionally target and benefits specific groups of women and girls. However, it can be considered gender transformative in that Principle 1 of the Strategy is gender equity and includes actions to: recognize and address the gendered nature of specific health conditions and diseases; invest in translating gender into all health policy design, development and service delivery; support women-run services and women-centred care; and use a gender-equity lens an dan evidence base to tailor programs, interventions and initiatives to improve engagement, increase equity and combat biases related to sex and gender in the health system. Principle 2 has as its objective to promote health equity between women. In terms of other good practices, Principle 5 relates to the evidence base and includes actions to improve collection of more detailed and nuanced data for women, particularly women and girls who in underrepresented population groups; to engage in and promote innovative and non-traditional ways of gathering data; and to encourage women and girls’ participation in clinical research studies. As such the Strategy aims to address gender bias and a gap in knowledge. The Strategy was developed through a process of consultation including: a National Women’s Health Forum; an online public survey; targeted consultations with state and territory governments; and advice from an Expert Advisory Group. An evidence review commissioned to inform the development of the Strategy and provides an overview of the health andwellbeing of Australian women and girls.



Potential challenges-as with most policies of this nature lie in the implementation and tracking of progress for the Strategy. This is a key gap with regard to gender main streaming efforts and health overall (3–5). In particular monitoring and reporting with regard to progress (or not) in gender equality, equity and the gender-responsiveness of the health system (organizationally and programmatically) and addressing biases related to sex and gender in the health system. Monitoring and reporting on health outcomes from the Strategy in terms o fgender-specific efforts, gender equality and equity issues, particularly in relation to the identified priority population groups is also a potential challenge.

Relevant to countries who are interested in

Using a gender-lens to look at what are seen as traditionally women’s health issues and to extend this lens to look at all women’s and girls’ health over the life-course, with a focus on gender as determinant of health and how it intersects with other determinants of health. Two of the priority health areas are focused on topics traditional to health system gender mainstreaming efforts–maternal, sexual and reproductive health and violence against women. However,the Strategy brings a gender rather than a women’s health lens to these two issues. For example, addressing inequities among women and girls in sexual and reproductive health outcomes, and engaging both men and women in designing awareness campaigns to promote positive relationships and educate both genders about the health impacts of violence towards women on women and girls, men and communities. In the priority area of mental health it identifies the need to enhance gender-specific mental health education, awareness and primary prevention. Here again it shows how gender analysis can give greater specificity and move beyond the simplistic view of all women having depression per se. It will also be of relevance to countries in terms ofhow to track country progress .For example, from the 2010 policy to this Strategy given the related evidencereports and evidence. It is also an important example for countries because the Strategy for women was developed in parallel with the Strategy for men, underlining the concept of gender-specific.

For the Strategy go to –

The evidence review- The current state of women’s health in Australia-can be provided upon request– please email

Press release detailing funding-’s_health_.pdf?1554925330

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