This report uses the latest available data to summarise the health of females in Australia including health behaviours and risk factors, the impact of COVID-19 on health, chronic conditions, sexual and reproductive health, leading causes of disease burden and how females access health care.

Females experience more of their total disease burden due to living with disease rather than from dying early from disease and injury.

Australian females experience different health outcomes to males. Leading causes of ill health and death for females include anxiety disorders, back pain and problems, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and coronary heart disease. They are also more likely to have multiple chronic conditions.

Females are more likely to experience sexual violence and intimate partner violence.

Females are more likely to seek health care such as general practitioners (GP) and health professionals for their mental health.

Female health varies for some population groups in socioeconomic areas, and for those living in rural and remote areas.

This report focuses on females aged 18 and over, and the term females refers to females aged 18 and over unless otherwise specified. To learn more about the health outcomes of males, see The health of Australia’s males, for the health of children, see Australia’s children, and for the health of youths, see Australia’s youth.

For more information on reporting of sex and gender at the AIHW, see AIHW data by sex and gender.

Data by sex and gender

This web report focuses on female health. A separate web report focuses on male health.

The use of the word ‘female’ in this report may relate to either sex or gender due to the nature of the data sources that we use. Most current data sources do not record sex and gender as separate concepts so it can be unclear which is the focus. For example, a survey may ask participants for their ‘sex’ or ‘gender’, but in each case, a participant can respond to the question according to how they identify, or how they interpret the question. In other instances, an interviewer conducting a survey may assume a person’s sex or gender rather than ask. Similarly, for administrative data, a health service provider may not ask a person to specify their sex or gender.

The AIHW is working towards including other categories when reporting by sex or gender. However, it is not always possible to do so as data on other categories may not be available. The AIHW is only able to report on the sex or gender categories that are available in the health service or program administrative records, or survey, that provide us with the underlying data.

For more information on reporting of sex and gender at the AIHW, see AIHW data by sex and gender.