The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH)


This study is relevant for countries interested in data used to address health issues for women over the life course as well as how wider determinants impact women’s health.

Project Overview



Relevant Countries

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This is a longitudinal survey of over 57,000 women in three cohorts who were aged 18-23, 45-50 and 70-75 when surveys began in 1996. In 2012/13 more than 17,000 young women aged 18-23 were recruited to form a new cohort. ALSWH assesses women’s physical and mental health, as well as psychosocial aspects of health (such as socio-demographic and lifestyle factors), social determinants such as educationand their use of health services. It includes data about the health of women across the life course which has been used to inform federal and state government policies across a wide range of issues.

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

Gender-specific. Since 2006 a major report has been produced annually. The reports and the data have contributed to addressing a gap in gender bias and knowledge of women’s health issues. Specifically, it enables a shift in the discussion ‘beyond the mortality advantage’ by providing more specific knowledge of women’s health across the life-course and beyond women’s reproductive health. It has generated detailed data about women’s health issues such NCDs, better analysis of issues such as depression among women, and datain relation to life course stages such as menopause and ageing. The 2019 report provides policy briefs on major topics for women’s health and wellbeing: Mental health and Violence and abuse; then Sexual health, Reproductive health, and Pregnancy and maternal health; those related to lifestyle and health behaviours- Weight and weight gain, Nutrition ,Physical activity and sedentary behaviour; and Chronic conditions, and Housing and care for older women. The 2019 report draws on the ALSWH research work over the past decade. As with the Ten to men study it contains important data on the wider determinants of health and enables identification of differences among women in terms oflevels of education and place of residence.


Potential challenges include: ensuring the translation of findings into practice; if a gender lens is being used to analyse the findings; and if differences among women and girls are being considered as part of this analysis.

Relevant to countries who are interested in


Collecting evidence that moves beyond description of differences between males and females and putting in place longer term arrangements for building evidence around men and women’s health as part of gender mainstreaming efforts and using a gender-lens. In particular it illustrates how data can be collected and used to look at all health issues for women over the life course as well as how wider determinants impact on women’s health. This type of information can also be used (a) to identify policy opportunities where multisectoral action is needed to improve health and gender equality; and (b) support improved country reporting on health-and gender-related SDGs as well as leaving no onebehind. The different instruments might be useful to review as well as the available sources of data on social factors. The questionnaires/survey instruments are available on the website as well as publications about the methodology. Furthermore, the focus on a wide range of social determinants is also of relevance to countries because it enables disaggregation beyond sex and age to identify differences among females and some indication of who is being left behind.

See ALSWH website for information about the study, instruments, reports and publications:

See also the Australian women’s health strategy:

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