Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women's health

Women's Health Victoria
Published: November 2015
Series: Spotlight

This Clearinghouse Connector provides a list of up-to-date resources that are freely available focussing on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women's health.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a holistic view of health which encompasses not only the physical, but also the “social, emotional and cultural well-being of the whole community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being.” This means that health for Aboriginal women is linked to their families and communities.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have suffered great intergenerational trauma as a result of colonisation, forced removal of children, assimilation, segregation and racism. Cultural practices, traditions and identity have been interrupted which has had a devastating impact on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Aboriginal people also experience significant socio-economic disadvantage, which is strongly related to poor health outcomes.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women continue to have poorer health outcomes compared to non-Aboriginal women in Australia. The life expectancy for Aboriginal women is 73.7 compared to 83.1 for non-Aboriginal women. Aboriginal women are more likely to have one or more chronic health conditions compared to Aboriginal men. and are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised due to family violence. Though they make up 0.9% of the Victorian population, Aboriginal women are the fastest growing segment of the Victorian prison population, representing 8.9% of Victorian female prisoners. Most Aboriginal women in prison have experienced family violence and many are incarcerated for offences relating to homelessness and financial hardship.

There is a need for more Aboriginal women-focused research as much of the research on Aboriginal health is gender blind and does not explore the impact of gender on the health and wellbeing outcomes of Aboriginal women in addition to the trauma of colonization, forced removal, racism and socio-economic disadvantage.


Women's Health Victoria (2015) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women's health. Women's Health Victoria. Melbourne. - (Clearinghouse Connector; Nov 2015)

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