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Women’s Health Week 2015: No more elephants!

04 September, 2015

When it comes to health, every woman has a few elephants in her room. We tend to ignore health issues, we don’t always take the time to ask questions or seek support, and we often don’t get around to making a plan of action to recover. September 7-11 is the third annual Women’s Health Week. The message this year from Jean Hailes, the leading women’s health organisation that organises the Week, is: No more elephants. It’s time to talk.

Women’s Health Week is dedicated to getting women, communities, organisations and the media openly talking about women’s health issues. In addition, the event empowers women with relevant information to help inspire more informed decisions surrounding general wellbeing.

Jean Hailes hosts on-the-ground activation events in major capital cities, and invites local communities to host their own events right across the country. Support is available in the form of a website, online activities, competitions, media support and ambassador endorsements.

What’s the 2015 theme?

This year, Jean Hailes will be launching its new campaign - No More Elephants! Over 3300 women and health professionals completed a Jean Hailes survey, discussing what it is that most women worry about. The purpose of the survey was to uncover the gaps in women’s health to better respond to women’s health needs.Women's

The idea behind this year’s theme is to offer the opportunity to gather information about the topics most thought about, but not often spoken about. Women can be good talkers, and great listeners, but when it comes to health they often don’t take the time to stop and ask questions.

From 7-11 September, women from all across Australia can take part in this free online event which focuses on offering engaging articles, videos, podcasts, recipes, and tools to promote better health in women. With a host of women’s health experts and celebrity ambassadors participating in this great event, there’s no better time to make health a priority.

To take part, simply register online at (it’s free!) and check out some of the topics being discussed. These include:

What do women want to talk about?

This will focus on the health issues women find most worrying, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, maternal health, mental health and ageing.

Myths: what have you heard?

Many women are making health decisions based on incorrect or outdated information. There’s so much misinformation surrounding the female body and it’s vital that your sources for health information are current and accurate. This topic will cover some of the myths surrounding menopause, diet, sleep and ageing.

Silent topics: What’s not being talked about?

From frequent urination and excessive sweating, to bad breath, vaginal discharge, depression and anxiety, millions of women are failing to talk about health issues they may consider “embarrassing” or taboo. Effective treatment is out there for most of these issues, so it’s time to get talking.

Ask someone: who and what to askWomen's 3

If you’ve ever been too afraid to visit your doctor for fear of being dismissed or laughed at, or if you’ve ever returned home and felt you didn’t ask the right questions, this is a discussion you might like to join. Knowing the right people to see, and the appropriate questions to ask is a key element to looking after your health.

Now what? Share your pledge

If you could make just one small change in your life, what would it be? Spend more time in the gym? Eat healthier food? Spend more time with the family? Here’s your chance to start on a journey to better health.

The ‘Great Wall of Pledges’ is a Jean Hailes initiative that invites women all across Australia to make an online pledge to do something to improve or focus on their health and wellbeing. Telling people about your goals is an awesome way to keep yourself accountable and on track to achieving them.

Hosting an event

If you would like to become involved in Women’s Health Week by hosting an event in your community or workplace, download the event guide packed full of handy hints, ideas and support. When you are ready, register your event and Jean Hailes will send free resources for your participants. Event hosts will also receive a Jean Hailes USB with three video presentations.

Why women’s health is so important

Women’s Health Week focuses on recognising the diversity of women’s lives, and the differences that exist among women. Key principles are encouraging women to take control of their bodies, education, and collaborative decision making between women and their health care providers.

Women's 4

Women’s health organisations, such as Jean Hailes, encourages women to stay active with preventative care measures, such as:

  • Regular gynaecological check-ups;
  • Regular pap smears;
  • Bone density testing;
  • Breast cancer screening;
  • Hormonal testing;
  • Immunisations;
  • Healthy lifestyle risk assessment.

They also encourage women to get familiar with the most common health risks affecting women, such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease;
  • Cerebrovascular disease;
  • Dementia;
  • Cancer;
  • Diabetes;
  • Kidney disease.
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