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Gendered Indigenous Health and Wellbeing within the Australian Health System: A Review of the Literature

posted on 2023-05-22, 08:51 authored by Fredericks, B, Daniels, C, Judd, J, Bainbridge, R, Clapham, K, Longbottom, M, Adams, M, Bessarab, D, Collard, L, Clair AndersenClair Andersen, Duthie, D, Ball, R

This report discusses the outcomes of a review of gendered Indigenous health literature involving a systematic search of peer-reviewed and grey literature, and government and non-government reports.

Traditionally, Indigenous men and women maintained distinct gendered realities. Colonisation and the subsequent introduction of the patriarchal system altered these realities, negatively impacting on Indigenous men’s and women’s health and wellbeing in a cumulative and continuing way.

This report provides an overview of gendered Indigenous perspectives of health and wellbeing, and discusses some of the intervention strategies in Australia that have attempted to address these issues. In providing a context for understanding gendered Indigenous health perspectives, this report discusses the place of Indigenous peoples in contemporary Australian society and the complex historical factors that inform the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Systemic racism is embedded within systems and institutions in Australia. Racism and the combined effects of social, political and historical determinants, influence the health outcomes experienced by Indigenous peoples. Mainstream primary healthcare services have failed to meet the health and wellbeing needs of Indigenous peoples. In contrast, the emerging network of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services provide culturally appropriate health care and outperform mainstream services in the health and wellbeing outcomes achieved for Indigenous peoples. Maintaining and expanding these health services through appropriate government funding strategies is vital for improved healthcare outcomes for Indigenous men and women.

Future research is needed to not only describe the situation of gendered Indigenous health and wellbeing, but to involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men in the ways that health services serve this community. More work is needed to build strong evidence of what works in improving gendered Indigenous health outcomes.


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