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Gendered Indigenous health and wellbeing within the Australian health system: A review of the literature

posted on 06.02.2018, 00:00 by Bronwyn FredericksBronwyn Fredericks, Carolyn DanielsCarolyn Daniels, Jennifer JuddJennifer Judd, Roxanne BainbridgeRoxanne Bainbridge, K Clapham, M Longbottom, M Adams, D Bessarab, L Collard, C Andersen
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 literature review 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 literature review 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. The research involved a review of gendered Indigenous health literature involving a systematic search of peer-reviewed and grey literature, and government and non-government reports. This work commenced as a conversation between Indigenous researchers who were members of the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (NIRAKN) Health and Wellbeing Node who are intimately aware of the ongoing crisis in Indigenous health and wellbeing. As we progressed our collaborative conversation, we agreed to focus on several specific areas and commenced with this review of the literature about gendered Indigenous health and wellbeing in order to gain a deeper understanding of what is known and what research has taken place. This work does not set out to include all work produced, but to open up the discussion on ways to offer a greater focus on and improve gendered Indigenous health and wellbeing. We offer this monograph as a contribution to the larger conversation that needs to be had, to develop a broader understanding of Indigenous gendered health and wellbeing and what needs to happen in bringing about positive health outcomes for Indigenous peoples in Australia. 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. This research project was funded by the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (NIRAKN) (ARC ID: SR120100005), the Healing Foundation (via NIRAKN to the Health and Wellbeing Node) and CQUniversity and involved a review of gendered Indigenous health literature.


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)


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Central Queensland University

Place of Publication

Rockhampton, Qld

Additional Rights

The report may be copied and distributed for personal research and/or study, however, no part of the report or the information contained therein may be included in or referred to in publication without prior written permission of the author and/or any reference fully acknowledged. Printed by the CQUniversity Publishing Unit, Rockhampton Queensland 4700. The information in this submission was correct at time of printing however is subject to change. Contact the University for the latest information. The contents of this report have been, or may be used, in generation of articles for peer-reviewed publication. At time of printing, these articles are still under consideration so no citation information is available.

Open Access


Cultural Warning

This research output may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. We apologize for any distress that may occur.

Author Research Institute

Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research

Era Eligible