Mental health issues in Australian women aren’t uncommon, with 22.3% of women estimated to currently have a mental health condition (1). Over 2 in 5 will have a mental health condition in their lifetime, with many of these cases being anxiety related (71%), or mood affective disorders (54%) (1).
In 2020, it was estimated that 19,998 cases of breast cancer would be diagnosed, with women accounting for 46% of all new cancer cases diagnosed that year (1). Furthermore, there is a 1 in 2 chance that women will be diagnosed with cancer before their 85th birthday (1).
1 in 15 women born between 1989 and 1995 have been estimated to have an endometriosis diagnosis (1). Females from higher socio-economic backgrounds and non-Indigenous women were more likely to face endometriosis related hospitalisation, with 319 non-Indigenous women compared to 196 Indigenous women per 100,000 (1). This could reflect potential variations in access to health services, or difference in behaviour towards health-seeking behaviour between population groups.
Political representation of women
Women make up 38% of the federal government, however, a breakdown between the two houses reveals a discrepancy (6). Whilst they make up a majority at 53% in the Senate, women are a minority in the House of Representatives where only 31% of members are female (6). Furthermore, there have been no Indigenous members of federal parliament since 2005 (6). There are more female Labour MPs than Liberal or National female MPs, with women making up 43% of the Labour party (6). Compared to 21% of Liberal MP seats and only 2 National MPs which are female (6).
Women at work
Women are a big part of the Australian workforce, making up 47%, despite the gender pay gap sitting at 13.8% (7). 23% of these women have faced sexual harassment whilst at work (7). Women make up a quarter of all employed people working full time, yet 60% of women spend at least five hours on unpaid domestic work (7). Men hold more chair positions, with women only holding 14.6% (7). During the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 300,000 women drained their superannuation accounts in order to cope (7). Furthermore, 88% of all primary care leaves are taken by women (7).
Violence against women
Violence against Australian women is so high that since the age of 15, 1 in 3 women will have experienced physical violence, with 1 in 4 experiencing this from a partner, and 1 in 5 will have experienced sexual violence (3). There is a disparity when it comes to the murder of a partner between men and women, with a woman dying at the hands of her partner every 9 days, compared to men getting killed every 29 days (3). Minorities face more violence- between 2016 and 2017 Indigenous women were 34 times more likely to be hospitalised for domestic violence than non-Indigenous women (3). Trans women of colour are twice as likely as other women to say that they have been assaulted more than 10 times (3).