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Have you or someone you care for been unfairly treated as a woman in Australia’s healthcare system?

An Australia-wide community consultation project is underway to understand the personal experiences of bias for women in the health system.

Women are being encouraged to participate in a survey on their experiences of the health and aged care system to inform policy development and improve health outcomes.

The newly-created National Women’s Health Advisory Council established this year by the Albanese Government has released the consultation survey aimed to understand the unique barriers and gender bias that Australia women face when accessing healthcare.

From delayed diagnosis, over medicating, dismissal of pain or other symptoms, or a lack of research and evidence used to treat women, there are many unique challenges confronting women, including for those that are part of diverse communities like LGBTIQ people – that lead to poorer health outcomes.

Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ged Kearney who chairs the Council, said women’s stories were often overlooked.

“I have heard from women across the country and what is undeniable is this: every woman has a story – but nobody has ever asked them to tell it.

“We can’t fix what we don’t know, and this is the critical next step in helping us understand people’s experiences.”

The Council is seeking feedback from all women – from patients to healthcare professionals, healthcare providers, researchers and other consumer and peak stakeholders groups.

The survey will be used to inform the work of the National Women’s Health Advisory Council which provides advice and recommendations to the federal government to improve health outcomes for women and girls, including implementation of the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020–2030.

The Council is looking at opportunities to address gender bias in the health system across four priority areas: safety; research; access, care and outcomes; and empowerment.

“It’s unacceptable that conditions that affect mostly women often go under-researched, undiagnosed or untreated. And when it comes to conditions that affect everyone, we often lack the knowledge of how it might affect women’s bodies and physiology,” Minister Kearney said. 

Anyone can participate through the online portal, by written statement, audio recording, or completing the survey. The #EndGenderBias survey is available in 17 languages.

“I encourage anyone who has experienced or witnessed gender bias in the health system to take part, particularly people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to share their experiences in their own language,” Minister Kearney said.

Consultation closes on 13 October 2023.

To participate go to the online portal

An information kit is available with resources to guide participation.