Inquiry into Women’s pain

9 February 2024 |

The Women’s welcomes the Victorian Government’s establishment of an Inquiry into Women’s Pain, which aims to address the challenges faced by girls and women seeking care for pain.

In setting up the Inquiry, the government acknowledged “chronic pain affects a higher proportion of girls and women than men around the world; however, women are less likely to receive treatment”.

“Medical gender bias routinely leads to a denial of pain and therefore, lack of pain relief and associated treatment for women. This occurs for various health conditions, including cardiovascular, neurological, reproductive, and autoimmune conditions.”

The Women’s CEO, Professor Sue Matthews is co-chair of the Inquiry.

“This is a great initiative that will recognise and acknowledge the pain that women and girls encounter and how they have been treated by the health system,” Prof Matthews says.

Scope of inquiry

The Inquiry will report on Victorian girls and women 12 years of age and over, with living and lived experience of pain. 

It will consider opportunities to improve access to treatment and care.

It will:

  • provide an opportunity for girls and women from across our community to share their experiences of pain and pain management in their own words and for these experiences to be heard and acknowledged
  • listen to the experiences of girls, women and clinicians to identify the barriers and enablers when accessing care, treatment and services for pain conditions
  • describe the impact of the current service delivery system on care for pain conditions
  • identify opportunities to improve the care, treatment and services for pain conditions
  • consider appropriate models of care, service delivery frameworks, workforce skill mix and other areas requiring change
  • translate research and evidence-based interventions that address unwarranted sex and gender variations and improve the equity of outcomes relating to the access and efficacy of pain management.

Submissions sought

The Inquiry is seeking submissions from anyone with information or interest in the Inquiry into Women's Pain.

This includes (but is not limited to): 

  • Victorian women and girls (from 12 years of age up) with experience of pain
  • carers
  • healthcare providers, health services, and
  • researchers.

Submissions are sought by 31 July 2024.

For more information, visit the Department of Health website.