Presentations made at the 7th Australian Women’s Conference ‘Gender Matters: Determining Women’s Health’
6th Australian Women's Health ConferenceThe New National Agenda
18-21 May 2010, Hobart, Tasmania
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Australian Women's Health SummitWomen's Health: the New National Agenda
Thursday 20 September 2007
The Australian Women's Health Summit, Women's Health: the New National Agenda, was attended by over 100 delegates from around Australia representing a cross section of government departments, both at the Federal and State/Territory level, peak women's organizations, Aboriginal leaders from around the country, and community organisations.
The Summit followed the release of the AWHN discussion paper, Women's Health: the New National Agenda, which was the focus of the day. The Summit was addressed by a range of key leaders in various aspects of women's health who stimulated lively discussion and debate.
Aboriginal leaders, who had come together as the Indigenous Women's Talking Circle the day before the Summit, tabled their support for the discussion paper and their wish for Aboriginal women's health issues to be included in the New National Agenda.
Following the Summit, further feedback on the discussion paper is being sought. A final version, incorporating comments from across Australia and a plan of action, will be released early next year.
View the 2007 conference site
4th AUSTRALIAN WOMENS HEALTH CONFERENCEADELAIDE FEB 2001
FINAL CONFERENCE STATEMENT
This statement summarises the findings of the 4th national Women’s Health Conference, organised by the Women’s Health Network and held from 19-21 February 2001 in Adelaide. The conference was attended by 550 registrants who represented health workers, women’s health services, consumers, policy officers and researchers.
The Conference confirmed the fundamental importance to women’s health of the social model of health and re-affirmed its appropriateness for achieving the best health outcomes for women in their diversity, from all population groups.
The tendency for policies and programs to be based primarily on risk factor approaches are narrowly based and simplistic in their casual attribution of women’s health problems. Risk frameworks are limited in their capacity to deliver good health outcomes because they do not address the social, economic and political factors that affect women’s health. In particular, the health of immigrant and refugee women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women with disabilities, lesbian women and women on low-incomes especially those with dependent children, have emerging and recurring health issues of considerable concern.
This conference recognised the lack of strategic policy agenda at the Commonwealth level, for women’s health. The Commonwealth has dismantled infrastructure for broad-based women’s policy that addresses the health, social and economic determinants of women’s health is necessary top ensure funding and commitment is manifested, for broad-based women’s health policies, strategies and programs in the States and Territories.
Significant issues for women’s health include
The continuing need for research, policy development and program commitment to reduce violence against women and girls in all population groups recognising the long-term effects of domestic and sexual violence on women’s emotional and mental health;
A cultural abyss between the health, social and educational needs of ATSI women and girls and the Western systems and ways of addressing these. This is evident in the limited number of and poor outcomes from efforts to address violence, maternity and birthing issues, reproductive health and contraception, chronic illness and education;
Low levels of participation by immigrant and refugee women in women’s health programs as service users, health workers or decision makers;
The invisibility of lesbian health issues in mainstream services, especially social and emotional factors and the lack of research to inform improved health system responses to lesbian health issues;
Funding for women’s health appears to be diminishing, with a concentration on short-term, often tokenistic programs and projects without the capacity for long-term commitment to sustainable change for women’s health;
The lack of recognition by the Commonwealth and some States and Territories, of gendered women’s health models of care that has resulted in an increasingly despondent sector that is nonetheless determined to re-energise its commitment for a renewed National Women’s Health Policy and Program;
The Governments failure to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW);
Increasing privatisation of the health system which
- Threatens the universal provision of services and the accessibility, affordability and availability of the public and community health system for women;
- Will increasingly allow the private health insurance to dictate program philosophy and implementation and the quality and level of care that women receive;
- Will not be subject to regulation or policy guidance from Commonwealth policy and program frameworks;
- May not contain adequate processes for the consumer participation in policy and program development.