Women’s Health Week highlights the need for older women’s health to be put on the agenda

Sep 07, 2023
Women's Health Week seeks to elevate awareness and knowledge regarding women's health issues. Source: Getty Images.

Women’s Health Week (September 4-8) serves as a timely reminder of the importance of prioritising women’s health and well-being while promoting the crucial health checks and resources that are available to ensure optimal health.

In observance of Women’s Health Week, the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) is advocating for a spotlight to be shone on the health of older women.

“The theme of this year’s Women’s Health Week is supporting women to make informed decisions about their health with information that’s easy to understand,” NARI Director, Professor Briony Dow said.

“I urge everyone to consider what this means for older women. How can we ensure we actively consider the myriad of challenges women face as they age, and how health care systems, government policies, and communities can better support women to age well.”

The Australian and State Governments have made recent financial and policy commitments that offer substantial possibilities for investment in promoting longer, healthier, and more productive lives for women.

In a noteworthy development this week, the Victorian Government unveiled plans for the creation of a Victorian Women’s Health Advisory Council which will play a pivotal role in the allocation and implementation of $153.9 million dedicated to transforming and enhancing the approach to addressing women’s health concerns.

“Older women are often excluded from clinical trials. Risk factors and symptoms for a range of health conditions are based on men, meaning women’s health concerns are often dismissed or not taken seriously, a situation which is compounded as we age,”  Dow said.

“It’s time to put older women’s health on the agenda and invest in research that is more specific to them – for example continence, dementia, physical activity, falls and balance, and psychosocial and mental health.”

As NARI endeavors to bring attention to the health challenges older women encounter, more than a thousand community groups, health organisations, and businesses are actively participating in Women’s Health Week across every state and territory.

This annual health initiative, spearheaded by the national not-for-profit organisation Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, seeks to elevate awareness and knowledge regarding women’s health issues, such as pelvic pain, endometriosis, and menopause. It also aims to foster community engagement in health assessments and screenings. The theme for this year, “Cultivate Your Understanding,” strives to make women’s health information more accessible and comprehensible.

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health CEO Dr Sarah White is hopeful that the thousands of community-led events happening across the country will encourage more conversations about women’s health.

“Women’s Health Week provides women with an opportunity to put themselves first and discover the latest news in women’s health,” White said.

“It encourages women to come together, talk, and realise that they are not alone.”

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