Victorian women lag behind men in health, wellbeing and income

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
The Victorian Women’s Health and Wellbeing Snapshot found Victorian women’s health was worse in every dimension relative to men. 

Victorian women lag behind men on key health and wellbeing indicators, a new Monash University-led report has found.

The Victorian Women’s Health and Wellbeing Snapshot found Victorian women’s health was worse in every dimension relative to men. 

Produced by the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI), Monash University, it revealed that Victorian women reported declining health over time and poorer health compared to men. 

Around two thirds of women reported poor physical health, physical functioning, low levels of vitality and poor mental health/mental functioning. Caring responsibilities also significantly and disproportionately limited women’s opportunities for full time employment. 

It is based on the representative data from the annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey.

The report is co-authored by MCHRI’s Director Professor Helena Teede, leading women’s health expert and health economist Professor Emily Callander, and big data and biostatistician lead, Associate Professor Joanne Enticott.

Professor Teede said an urgent conversation was needed on the declining health and wellbeing of Victorian women, linked to inequity. She said good health including physical and mental health, meaningful employment and a decent level of income allowed individuals to fully participate in and contribute to society.

“The opportunity for meaningful employment and a decent level of income allows individuals to contribute to society and to optimise health and wellbeing,” Professor Teede said.

Professor Callander said low income and under employment were two primary determinants of poor health, and Victorian women lagged behind men in both.  

“This report shows that more Victorian women are employed part time, or are underemployed than men,” Professor Callander said.

“It also shows the significant annual income and superannuation gap between men and women in Victoria, which is directly related to access to healthcare and to adverse health outcomes.”

The Victorian report found that overall, the percentage of Victorian women in full time employment was 18.6 percentage points lower than men, with only 27.4 per cent working full time. Far more women than men were working part-time and were not in the labour force at all.  

There was also a $23,008 annual income gap between men and women in Victoria and a $53,062 superannuation gap from the recent national survey data in 2020.

The Victorian report follows the first Australian Women’s Health and Wellbeing Scorecard: Towards equity for women. It found that at current rates it will take 70 years to reach full time employment equality with men, and more than 200 years to reach income equity.

Associate Professor Joanne Enticott said that addressing women’s mental health is critical.

“In mental health and emotional wellbeing, some of the biggest gender health gaps are evident with over eight percentage points more women reporting mental health issues. In no other section of health would we tolerate such a big gender difference.  Economic outcomes are clearly linked with wellbeing and mental health, so by addressing economic differences we can start to start to close the mental health gender gap.”

Building on successful Monash University partnerships with over 100 other organisations, the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI) produced the scorecard, largely based on the nationally representative data from the annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. Established in 2006, MCHRI builds on strong partnerships with statewide, national and international reach. More about MCHRI. More about MCHRI’s resources.

Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation Victorian Snapshot

Health domain% of Victorian women in 2020 reporting poor health*Gender Gap in 2020 (percentage points)
General Health 62.8 1
Mental Health 67.6 8.1
Physical Functioning 66.8 7.7
Social Functioning 62.8 4.8
Emotional Ability to Perform Role 45.3 5.1
Physical Ability to Perform Role 40.2 1.9
Vitality 64.8 9.1
Bodily Pain 58.3 6.3

*Women not reporting good health, details in the technical report. Read the full technical report. 

Economic Wellbeing  Indicator % of women in 2020Gender Gap in 2020  (percentage points)
Full time employment 27.4 -18.6
Part time employment 29.0 11.2
Unemployment 3.9 -1.2
Not in the labour force 39.7 8.6
Income Poverty 11.0 0.8
Multidimensional Poverty 7.3 1.2
 Mean amount for women in 2020Long Run Change 2001–2020 (difference in means) 
Annual personal income $52,149.46 -$23,005
Superannuation balance $62,742.57 -$53,062

Enquiries: info.mchri@monash.edu

Recent Posts

Heart Week 2024

This Heart Week, hear from experts A/Prof Amanda Vincent and A/Prof Lisa Moran about how they are working with women to better understand heart health to improve women’s health outcomes.

Read More »