National Women's Health Policy

5. Support effective and collaborative research, data collection, monitoring, evaluation and knowledge transfer to advance the evidence base on women's health

Page last updated: 07 February 2011

The effectiveness of policies and programs will be improved by research that considers the relationship between gender and health, and the interaction between gender and other variables such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity, disability and sexuality.

Accurate, up-to-date data, sound research, and evaluation that records the diversity of women’s experience is required for good policy, planning and service delivery for women.

As good health includes all dimensions of wellbeing, it is critical to understand women’s own views of their health.

Women should be fully involved in setting the research agenda to ensure research looks at what women value as important contributors to their good health—acknowledging this will vary according to their life stage and social context.

The Australian Government is committed to investing in the development of a robust evidence base for women’s health policy.

The emphasis in the original policy on the need for gendered data and research to drive health policy and practice was echoed in consultations and submissions for this policy.

Many submissions also emphasised the need for data collection to cover the full spectrum of difference in women’s lives: age, place, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and immigrant or refugee status. Ensuring that data are not only recorded by sex will improve the evidence base.
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It is critical that all policy related to women’s health is grounded in a strong evidence base. Policy and program directions and the allocation of resources must be informed by research and the establishment of gender-sensitive data sets and performance indicators.

An emphasis will need to be placed on the broad dissemination of research findings in women’s health as well as the translation of research into guidelines, assessment tools and innovative service-delivery models.

Information gaps remain in our understanding of women’s health in Australia. This could be achieved through better collection and disaggregation of statistics, support for increased research on gender-based inequalities in health, and on health systems research to strengthen access and improve service quality.

Explore opportunities for research to continue to explore the circumstances of all Australian women, particular those from marginalised groups.

5.1 Continue building the evidence base through programs such as the Australian Women’s Longitudinal Health Study and explore its capacity to further investigate aspects of women’s health.

5.2 Consider the feasibility of developing a new national women’s clearinghouse for women’s health information.

5.3 Explore the extent to which existing national surveys disaggregate according to social determinants such as socio-economic status, ethnicity, disability and sexual identity to allow for exploration of the relationship between these and gender.

5.4 The Department of Health and Ageing will report annually on the progress of women’s health initiatives in consultation with the Office for Women in the Gender Equality