Development of a new National Women’s Health Policy Consultation Discussion Paper 2009

7.3.2 Culturally appropriate frameworks

Page last updated: 20 April 2009

Tools have also been developed to assist with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and multicultural health issues, however, these are not gender differentiated and new tools would need to be developed which incorporate gender analysis.

Tools which specifically deal with gender and cultural issues could be used to ensure that health policies and programs are not just gender appropriate but are also culturally and linguistically appropriate.
The Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 20042009207
This Framework may be an appropriate tool to guide the development of culturally relevant, gender based policies and service delivery, and thus contribute to improved health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. It addresses:

  • knowledge and awareness where the focus is on understandings and awareness of the history, experience, culture and rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  • skilled practice and behaviour where the focus is on changed behaviour and practice and recognition of the legitimacy of traditional health practices;
  • strong (customer and community) relationships where the focus is on agency or institutional business practices upholding and securing the cultural rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and
  • equity of outcomes where the focus is on the outcomes for individuals and communities.

The Framework provides guidance, for example, in the area of population health national screening programs. It recommends that: strategies to deal with cultural issues that affect access be activated; that cultural competence guides the planning and design of population health initiatives; and that respect is given for cultural difference in the delivery of population health programs.

The Framework has been endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Committee and by the Australian Women's Health Network Aboriginal Women's Talking Circle.208 The Australian Women's Health Network Aboriginal Women's Talking Circle recommended in 2007 that the Framework be `implemented, monitored and evaluated in all jurisdictions'.209

As the Framework is gender neutral, it could form the basis of a tool which addresses issues relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls. Such a tool would need to be developed in close consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Cultural frameworks for immigrant and refugee women
A framework or tool (or a series of tools) could be developed to assist in addressing the diverse needs of immigrant and refugee women and girls. The standards and indicators contained in the Multicultural Centre for Women's Health Quality Standards: Multilingual Health Education Programs, Putting Immigrant and Refugee Women's Health First 210could provide the basis for the development of such a framework or tool. The standards and indicators ensure that the Multicultural Centre for Women's Health's multilingual education programs are delivered in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner. Immigrant and refugee women would be consulted in developing such a tool.