Rural Women and Health

Clearinghouse Connector – September 2015

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Women living in rural and regional Victoria experience poorer health outcomes than those living in major cities. This can be due to limited access to services and risk factors including obesity and social isolation.

Family violence is a significant problem in regional Victoria. Women in regional and rural locations encounter additional barriers to escaping men’s violence, including; geographic and social isolation, limited private finances, challenges with maintaining anonymity and privacy, limited crisis accommodation and transport, and less access to support and health services than is available in metropolitan areas.

Adolescent rural women have a higher incidence of depression compared to women in urban areas which can be attributed to mental health risk factors such as isolation, hardship, and lack of mental health services. Rural women also face barriers to accessing reproductive health services including limited choice in health care providers, transport and distance to services, and lack of privacy.

This Connector features a selection of recent academic research, articles, policy documents and reports from regional women’s health organisations.

National overview

Women’s health in rural Australia [Fact sheet] National Rural Health Alliance Inc, 2012

Rural, remote and regional differences in women’s health : findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health Women’s Health Australia, 2011

Violence against women

Will somebody listen to me? : insight, actions and hope for women experiencing family violence in regional Victoria Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre, 2015

Landscapes of violence : women surviving family violence in regional and rural Victoria Deakin University. Centre for Rural Regional Law and Justice, 2014

Violence against rural older women: Promoting community awareness and action Australasian Journal of Ageing, 2013

Seeking help for domestic violence: Exploring rural women’s coping experiences: State of knowledge paper ANROWS, 2015

Mental health

Social Connectedness and Women Networking in the Loddon Mallee: A review Women’s Health Loddon Mallee, 2012

Depression, anxiety and suicide in rural areas is not confined to males [Audio] ABC Radio National. Bush Telegraph, 2014

Depression in rural adolescents: relationships with gender and availability of mental health services Rural and Remote Health, 2012

Sexual and reproductive health

Victorian rural women’s access to family planning services : survey report Rural Services of the Women’s Health Association of Victoria, 2012

Young people and sexual health in rural and regional Victoria Youth Affairs Council Victoria, 2013

Abortion, contraception still a problem for women in regional Victoria ABC Ballarat, 2013


Cancer health inequality persists in regional and remote Australia Medical Journal of Australia, 2014

Exposed : a literature review of the issues of women’s cancers in Australian indigenous communities Women’s Health Goulburn North East, 2010

GLBTI health

GLBTI inclusive practice : working with rural communities Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, 2012

Environmental health

Gender and climate change in rural Australia : a review of differences Critical Social Work, 2013

Government policy

National strategic framework for rural and remote health Australia. Australian Health Ministers Conference, 2012

Related websites

Victorian Women’s Health Program services by LGAs : statewides and regional areas [Map]

Breast Cancer Network Australia Support in rural areas

Proceedings of the 13th National Rural Health Conference 2015

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Women’s Health Victoria’s Clearinghouse has a wealth of information on gender in health in various forms. Our experienced health and information professionals can assist you to access this information.

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