National Women's Health Policy

Gender equity

Page last updated: 07 February 2011

The principle of gender equity was strongly endorsed. Most argued that the role that gender, and gender relations, played in women’s health needed to be at the core of this policy. Many suggested that the conceptual framework for the policy should show how gender interacts with other social determinants. The following comments were typical of responses:
Opportunities for health and vulnerability to illness are shaped by the gendered material and social realities of everyday life.

(Public Health Association Australia Submission p. 6)

While the focus of the National Women’s Health Policy is to be within the health portfolio, the achievement of a ‘level playing field’ will also involve addressing inequities in areas that stretch beyond the traditional parameters of that system…[to] champion a social determinants approach throughout the Commonwealth’s departmental portfolios.
(Australian Women’s Health Network Submission p. 17)

There was strong support for the health system as a whole to be more responsive to women’s health needs, including the need for training of health professionals on the impact of gender on health. This was identified in one submission as a serious omission from the discussion paper and an important step towards achieving equity.

We are delighted that… [you are] developing and implementing new women’s and men’s health policies. However, without adequate education and training about the impact of gender on health to health care professionals, we can expect little to change.
(Australian Women’s Coalition Submission p. 14)