Principles of Women's Health


Women's Health NSW

Principles of Women's Health Care: Profiling NSW Statewide Service Provision 

(2009-2010) (22/12/14)

The following principles are expressed in the Australian National Women’s Health Policy (1989) and the Manual of Standards for Women’s Health Centres (1995). They are articulated in NSW Health Strategic Framework to Advance the Health of Women (2000)

Community based feminist women’s health services are based on principles of social justice and an understanding of a gendered approach to health or health within a social context, as endorsed by governments throughout Australia.The principles are embedded in Women’s Health Centres constitutional aims and objectives and reflected in service policy and operational objectives. They are incorporated in the manual of Standards for Women’s Health Centre forming the benchmark criteria Women’s Health Centres must demonstrate to achieve accreditation through external independent review.

The principles recognise that:

  • health is determined by a broad range of social, environmental, economical and biological factors
  • differences in health status and health objectives are linked to gender, age, socio-economic status, ethnicity, disability, location and environment, racism, sex-role stereotyping, gender inequality and discrimination, ageism, sexuality and sexual preferences
  • health promotion, disease prevention, equity of access to appropriate and affordable services and strengthening the primary health care system are necessary, along with high quality illness treatment services
  • information, consultation, advocacy, and community development are important elements of the health process


In accordance with these principles, Hunter Women's Centre provides a service that:

  • Encompasses all of women's life spans, and reflects women's various roles in Australia society, not just their reproductive role.
  • Promotes the participation of women in debate and decision making about health issues, their own health care, health service policy, planning, delivery and evaluation.
  • Recognises women's rights as health care consumers, to be treated with dignity, in an environment which provides for privacy, informed consent, confidentiality and safety.
  • Acknowledges that informed decisions about health and health care require accessible information, which is appropriately targeted for different socio-economic, educational and cultural groups.
  • Uses existing data, research and policy concerning women's health, as well as incorporating women's views about their own health and the best strategies to address their health needs, in service planning and development.
  • Provides appropriate women's health care to women in local communities, within a state-wide, coordinated approach.
  • Ensures equity and accessibility of services without financial, cultural, geographic and/or other barriers.
  • Ensures effective community management and operation of women's health centres by women, for women.
  • Provides a broad range of services and strategies within a preventative and holistic framework, which:
    • Is provided by women, for women
    • Values women's own knowledge and experience
    • Facilitates the sharing of women's skills, knowledge and experience
    • Links women's individual experience and health needs to the social and cultural context of women's lives
    • Empowers women
    • Challenges sex-role stereotyping, gender discrimination, racism and homophobia which affect health
    • Increase the accessibility, sensitivity and acceptability of health services for women
    • Relates to identified health priorities at the local and state level.
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