Women are still living longer than men, but men are closing the gap, according to a new publication released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Over the last ten years life expectancy at birth has increased at a greater rate for men (by 3 years) than for women (by 2 years). However, women continue to have a higher life expectancy at birth (now 84 years for women and 79 years for men).

The new publication, Gender Indicators, Australia, looks at the differences between males and females in the main areas of wellbeing such as economic security, education, work and family balance, health and safety and justice.

Over the past ten years women have increased their participation in the labour force, while it has remained relatively stable for men. However women earn 11% less than men per hour, on average.

Men and women also differ in how they spend their working time. While men and women both spend about the same amount of time working, whether in paid or unpaid work, men spend nearly double the amount of time than by women on employment related activities. Women spend nearly double the time on unpaid work, such as domestic activities, child care and voluntary work.

The publication also shows that in 2010, more women aged 18-24 years (31%) than men (23%) were studying towards a qualification at Bachelor's degree or above. 

Men are more likely than women to have poor health risk factors, such as being overweight or obese (63% compared to 48% for women) or consuming alcohol at risky levels (15% compared to 12%). Women are more likely than men to report high or very high levels of psychological stress (14% compared to 10%).

The first issue of Gender Indicators, Australia, a new six-monthly publication, presents data from a wide range of sources to reflect the roles of men and women in Australian society, and monitors the changes that have occurred over time in their wellbeing.

To see the full range of indicators, and changes over time, see the full online product,Gender Indicators, Australia

The Victorian Health Minister, has sacked four members of the nine-member board of Ambulance Victoria, and announced the appointment of a new board which includes just two members of the outgoing board.  Outgoing board members include former Labor MP John McQuilten, Bruce Levy, a senior executive at Medibank Private, Melbourne lawyer Jan Moffatt and Suzanne Ewart, an independent consultant who has worked with water companies and the RSPCA.

In Western Australia, United Voice and the Health Services Union are continuing their campaign against the Barnett Government’s plans to privatise hospital services.

An international research project to eliminate dengue fever has  reported successful results from a field trial in which 150,000 mosquitoes infected with a bacterium called Wolbachia that  prevents the dengue virus from growing in the insect were released into two suburbs in Cairns.

Northern Territory’s Royal Darwin Hospital has been accredited at the same standard as a number of the country’s leading teaching hospitals.

Mesoblast, a Melbourne based regenerative medicine company specialising in the production of off-the-shelf adult stem cell products, has recorded a $92.2 million profit last financial year.

Miniaturised semi-conducting structures could be used for super-accurate treatment of cancer, researchers at Melbourne’s RMIT University have found.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has introduced its new Standard for Clinical Practice Guidelines in an attempt to streamline health professional’s access to diagnostic information and treatment.

A report published by the Medical Journal of Australia shows that suffering from vulnerable chronic diseases are benefiting under the use of GP management plans.

Chairs and Deputy Chairs of two of key bodies that will oversee reforms of Australia’s national health system were announced following the meeting of the Council of Australian Governments on Friday.

Work will begin on the development of a National Partnership Agreement on Mental Health following last week’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

Legislation to establish the $118 million National Health Performance Authority has passed through the lower house. The Authority will report on the performance of local hospital networks; public hospitals; private hospitals; primary healthcare organisations; and other bodies or organisations that provide health care services. It will be required to deliver performance reports to the parliament on an annual basis.

The New South Wales Government has released a discussion paper titled Securing a Stable Medical Workforce for NSW Rural Communities which sets out the framework to support a rural generalist training program and rural pathway for GP training in NSW.

Senior medical researchers and those responsible for sourcing private medical funding will meet later this month with community and business leaders to discuss new ways for health and medical research to be funded.

Research that will allow the production of a low cost, high quality eye screening system that will facilitate significantly greater areas of screening in rural and regional Australia has been awarded the Victorian Government Inspiration Award at the national iAwards information and communications technology event.

A consortium led by Accenture has been awarded the contract to deliver IT infrastructure for the Federal Government’s $466 million e-health records system.

The new Melbourne Brain Centre  has been officially opened at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, bringing together research and clinical facilities to help ensure that research is effectively translated into improved clinical outcomes.

Peak employer and union bodies have signed a Joint Statement of Commitment with the Federal Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon to promote healthier workplaces and healthier workers.

Dr William Coote has been appointed the Acting Director of the Professional Services Review,  replacing Dr Tony Webber who has been in the position for the past six years

The new membership of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Council (formerly the National Indigenous Health Equality Council) has been announced.

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