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‘Sobering and powerful’: 2020 National Women’s Health Survey results released

Media releases | Research 8 Dec 2020
Minister for health greg hunt launches womens health survey

With one in three women reporting symptoms of anxiety, one in four experiencing some form of intimate partner violence, and almost three in five women not getting the support they needed after a miscarriage or stillbirth, the Federal Health Minister has described the findings of a Jean Hailes survey as “sobering and powerful”.

The results of the annual National Women’s Health Survey by Jean Hailes for Women’s Health were officially launched today via video message by the Federal Health Minister, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP.

The survey, now in its sixth year, provides a revealing insight into how women in Australia managed their health and wellbeing during a year that will live in history.

In the shadow of a pandemic, many women coped with challenging burdens that included working from home, managing remote learning for children and, in some cases, having to navigate the increased presence of an abusive partner.

More than 9000 women responded to the survey, with the results analysed and weighted by researchers led by Professor Gita Mishra at the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland to ensure the data is representative of women in Australia.

Highlights of the survey’s findings include:

  • Almost three out of five women who experienced miscarriage and/or stillbirth said they did not receive enough information and support to manage their loss.
  • Almost one in four women experienced some form of intimate partner violence. Women with disabilities were more likely to experience controlling behaviour and physical violence, as were LGBTIQ women.
  • Almost one in five women said they could not afford to see a health professional. Women with disabilities and LGBTIQ women were particularly disadvantaged.
  • One in three women reported symptoms of anxiety and one in four reported symptoms of depression.
  • Women aged 25-44 were busier than before COVID. They coped with longer working hours in their jobs and in their homes, as well as managing remote learning for children.
  • Nearly one in three women in this age group did not have enough time to attend appointments for health checks

Jean Hailes CEO, Janet Michelmore AO, said the survey was “a telling snapshot of what is happening with women’s health and wellbeing across Australia.”

“Women have taken the time, and shown the trust in us, to tell us how they have been faring in this most challenging of years,” she said.

Jean Hailes CEO, Janet Michelmore AO

“We now want women to take time for themselves – to take time for their health, catch up on delayed screenings and use evidence-based information to support their decisions.”

Mr Hunt thanked Jean Hailes for conducting the survey. “What you do will help to save lives and protect lives,” he said.

He said the findings would help the Federal Government to “frame the next steps in our long-term National Women’s Health Strategy to 2030.”

National Women’s Health Survey 2020, a healthier future for all women in Australia.

Go to survey page

For media

Please see the attached Survey and Media Kit for additional expert commentary and resources.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Janet Michelmore AO, email or phone Jo Roberts on 0416 156 566.

About Jean Hailes

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health is a national not-for-profit organisation committed to improving women’s knowledge and understanding of complex health issues. Jean Hailes has a unique model, combining medical centres, research and a department that translates the latest health findings into practical, accessible information on our website, through resources, educational programs and health professional events. Jean Hailes only produces trusted evidence-based information reviewed by our in-house team of clinicians. In 2016, Jean Hailes was officially recognised as the Federal Government’s national digital gateway for women’s health.