Fredericks, Bronwyn, Adams, Karen, Angus, Sandra & the Australian Women’s Health Network Talking Circle. Australian Women’s Health Network, Melbourne, Victoria.
When compared with other women in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are considered the most socially and economically disadvantaged and have the poorest health status. As research on the social determinants of health shows, socio-economic disadvantage is strongly associated with poor health outcomes.
For this reason, the Australian Women’s Health Network (AWHN) has always endorsed a social view of health, and therefore supports the social determinants perspective adopted by the Commonwealth consultation paper, Development of a New National Women’s Health Policy (2009). AWHN recognises that the social determinants of health intersect – particularly race, gender, culture and socio-economic conditions. One of the major social determinants, minority group status (including that associated with colonisation), is a root cause of serious health inequalities. Gender is also a basic social determinant. A focus on these determining factors is necessary to ensure that the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women can be adequately met.
AWHN understands that immediate, medium and long-term action needs to be taken to address the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous women's health. A whole-of-government approach is required, It is important to note that this Strategy does not replace other national or State and Territory documents which identify priorities and needs. The aim is to supplement existing work.