When it comes to health, women and men are not the same. Women’s health matters because every cell is sexed and every person is gendered.
The reality is that many common diseases affect women differently than men, women have different symptoms and respond differently to many treatments and preventive health measures.
There is still an astounding lack of evidence based research about health care for women as well as a lack of appropriate treatments. By applying a male yardstick to female health, women have paid a price.
|Nearly one in three young women has a mental health disorder.|
|Mental health seriously undermines young women’s general health, especially their sexual and reproductive health. It also impacts significantly on the young women’s education, relationships and employment. |
|More research needs to be undertaken to better understand the physical and social links to young women’s mental health. More programs in the community need to be designed to prevent anxiety and depression in women and to develop treatment programs that are specific to women throughout their lives.|
|Less than one-third of all subjects in medical research are women. Even in biomedical trials involving animals, male subjects greatly outnumber female subjects|
|Medicine practiced on women is less evidence based than medicine practiced on men. This affects prevention of disease, health promotion messages, diagnoses and treatments (including drug treatments) in women.|
|We need to make sure that men and women are represented equally in medical research so that women-specific symptoms, health promotion messages, diagnoses and treatments can be developed. |
|Women are more susceptible to anxiety and depression than men.|
|Anxiety and depression affect women’s relationships and their ability to function in employment and society. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. |
|Anxiety and depression are the two most common mental illnesses experienced by women. We need more research to understand and prevent anxiety and depression in women. We also need treatment programs that are specific to women throughout their lives.|
|1 in 3 women have experienced physical violence and almost 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual assault since the age of 15.|
|Studies have shown that violence against women may be responsible for more ill-health and premature death among women under the age of 45 than any other well-known risk factors, including high blood pressure, obesity and smoking.|
|We need to provide health services that are accessible to women who are affected by violence; that can identify the signs of violence and are responsive to the needs of women in violent relationships. We also need to build social norms that promote equality and reject violence. We need to promote and build skills toward respectful equitable relationships.|
|Women and men have different Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) symptoms. Common tests are less reliable and treatments are less effective in women. |
|CHD is the leading cause of death in both men and women but women who suffer heart attacks are more likely to die than men. |
|The best approaches for preventing, diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease in women are yet to be established. Women-specific research into CHD is necessary. |
|Women are more likely to experience socio-economic disadvantage than men.|
|Low socio economic status is linked to risk factors for smoking, obesity, physical inactivity and high blood pressure as well as diabetes, heart disease and depression.|
|Services need to be responsive the needs of all women and access to services must be equitable for women from a range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Research that informs how services can best respond to the individual needs of women will greatly improve health outcomes. |
We also need to continue to advocate for social change to ensure that women are afforded an equitable place in society.
|Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) infections continue to rise and lifetime rates of unplanned pregnancy are much higher than the rates of all STIs.|
|Some STIs have no symptoms in women but can have long term impacts on health, including loss of fertility. An unplanned pregnancy can be one of the most distressing events in a woman’s life.|
|We need research that reveals more about young women’s decision-making about sex and relationships and how they manage their health. Health services need to be alert to the risk of STIs and unplanned pregnancy and provide care in ways that are non-judgemental, empathetic and responsive to young women. |
Women's Health Matters - Fact Sheets
|See our complete list of A to Z fact sheets categorised under relevant health topics and listed alphabetically.|