If you’re looking to amplify your healthcare career and make a positive difference in the lives of women and children, look no further than women’s health.
Women’s health is a sector of increasing importance in Australia, and it is also an area of strong employment growth. There are currently many opportunities for healthcare professionals, including midwives, nurses, allied health practitioners and health scientists, to broaden their skills and take on specialist and leadership positions in this important field.
So who should consider working in this field, and is a role in women’s health right for you?
Why work in women’s health?
Women make up half of our population, and yet their needs have long been overlooked and underserved. According to the 2021 census, there are just under 13 million women and 5 million children in Australia, and our population is expanding. There is no question that healthcare services for this group need to grow accordingly.
Here are some reasons why it’s a great time to consider a career in women’s health.
Demand for women’s healthcare professionals in Australia
The healthcare sector overall is booming. Australian Government labour market figures show that health care and social assistance is now the nation’s largest sector, providing jobs for over 15 percent of the population. Strong employment growth of 15.8 per cent is predicted over the five years to 2026.
Add to this the pressure on Australia’s healthcare workforce. There are critical skills shortages in areas relevant to women’s health, such as nursing, health promotion, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, which remain on Australia’s skilled occupation list for migrants.
The pandemic has further exacerbated this situation, adding factors like burnout and a trend towards part-time work to pre-existing skills shortages, such as in nursing.
The Australian government has recognised the need for women’s health services and is resourcing accordingly. The National Women’s Health Strategy outlines a commitment of $235.5M in funding to support research specific to women’s health through the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the Medical Research Future Fund.
The strategy also outlines a broad plan for improving services in five priority areas: reproductive health, ageing, prevention and chronic conditions, mental wellbeing, and the impacts of violence against women.
This level of funding will create a broad array of opportunities for qualified and experienced women’s health professionals over the coming years.
As the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020–2030 states: “The health of women and girls in Australia is fundamental to us all, to the individuals themselves, to their families and communities and to our nation.”
Ongoing need for female-specific health services
Women don’t always get the care they need and deserve because of medical misogyny, social prejudice and other discrimination.
Women experience many health issues that men do not, often related to preconception, pregnancy, postpartum care, menopause, sexual health and fertility care. There are also disorders that disproportionately affect women, such as anxiety disorders, back pain and coronary heart disease.
Yet some studies indicate that, across a broad range of health issues, medical data has been collected from men and generalised to women.
A 2023 report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) found that women are more likely than men to seek out health professionals for problems such as chronic health issues, mental health conditions and domestic violence.
But women can often be left waiting for answers. One study found that women with the painful condition of endometriosis have to wait an average of 6.4 years before being diagnosed, often having to undergo surgeries that are unhelpful and even harmful.
Additionally, ten percent of women who gave birth in the past five years felt dehumanised, powerless and violated by the care they received.
Women’s health in decline since pandemic
Finally, the 2022 Jean Hailes National Women’s Health Survey reports a serious decline in women’s health since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as a 43 per cent decline in physical health, the report shows a 46 per cent decline in women’s mental health.
It also states that 44 per cent of women can’t afford to see a doctor or other health professional when they need it.
These statistics are worse for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and for those with a disability, LGBTIQA+ identified, or from regional and remote communities.
Top 8 careers in women’s health
Increasingly, there’s a recognition that this sector must grow in order to meet the critical health and wellbeing needs of over half of our population. Midwives, nurses and allied health professionals have an opportunity to upskill and transform the future of women’s health through high-quality care and evidence-informed policy.
So what are some examples of in-demand women’s health jobs? Here are some options you may consider.
Sexual Health Nurse Coordinator
Sexual Health Nurse Coordinators oversee service delivery in clinics and hospital departments which specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. This role involves both clinical care, such as seeing patients and overseeing complex cases, as well as non-clinical tasks like improving systems, and ensuring operational and organisational best practice. The average salary is $123,000+ per annum.
Midwife or Nurse Unit Manager
Nurse Unit Managers play an important role in hospitals and other health services, leading teams and overseeing operational management in a wide variety of women’s health sectors. Examples range from wards providing care in oncology, gynaecology, reproductive health and paediatrics. There are also options outside of hospitals, such as custodial health units in women’s prisons, and mental health services. The average salary is $120,000+ per annum.
Midwife Unit Managers play a similar role but usually in maternity care, running antenatal, birthing and postnatal wards in general and women’s hospitals. The job includes providing leadership and strategic direction to ensure high-quality clinical services, leading improvements in patient care, collaborating with other unit managers, and managing resources within the unit. The average salary is $109,000+ per year.
Clinical Coordinator (women’s and children’s health)
Clinical Coordinators work in multidisciplinary teams in hospitals, healthcare and in-home services, to coordinate and support the delivery of high-quality care to patients. This role includes communicating with patients and medical professionals, documenting medical histories, developing treatment plans, and overseeing clinical cases requiring multiple health care practitioners. The average salary is $119,000+ per annum.
Senior Policy Officer (women’s health)
Senior Policy Officers work in government, regulatory and nonprofit organisations to develop and review policies, standards, professional codes and guidelines. This role includes research and development of policy materials and implementation plans, project management, contributing to concept papers, and community and stakeholder consultation. The average salary is $115,000+ per annum.
Policy Advisor (women’s health)
Policy Advisors manage the development and review of policies and procedures, including conducting research and providing specialist advice in government and other health-related organisations. This role includes analysing and editing policy and procedural content, ensuring compliance with relevant legislation, and working collaboratively with stakeholders and senior management. The average salary is $114,000+ per year.
Midwifery or Nursing Educator
Midwifery and Nursing Educators provide teaching/coaching, mentoring, supervision and orientation for learners and new practitioners, often in clinical settings such as hospitals and health services. They can also be responsible for developing and delivering professional development programs for staff, as well as skills accreditation for educational and professional bodies. These roles are found in many sectors and settings in women’s health. The average salary is $110,000+ per year.
Midwifery, Nursing or Women’s Health Researcher
Midwifery, Nursing and Women’s Health researchers work in universities and research organisations, conducting detailed investigations into specific topics. These roles involve research and analysis, managing research projects, stakeholder consultation, writing and contributing to academic papers for publication, and presenting at conferences. The average salary is $110,000+ per year.
Fertility/IVF Midwife or Nurse
Fertility/IVF Midwives and Nurses work in fertility clinics which offer IVF and other forms of assisted reproductive treatment. These roles include providing high-quality care for patients, coordinating treatment cycles under the guidance of medical teams, collaborating with other health professionals, and patient assessment and documentation. The average salary is $80,000+ per year.
How online study can help you start your career in women’s health
Graduate qualifications and specialised knowledge in women’s and children’s health can help pave the way for you to step into advanced careers in this sector.
Learn skills to meet the demand of the future
UTS Online’s Master of Women’s and Children’s Health is the first master’s degree of its kind, with a curriculum developed by leading academics and industry professionals.
“The Master of Women’s and Children’s Health is a deep dive into the social, political and structural landscape of contemporary health issues facing women and children,” says UTS Postgraduate Course Director Dr Vanessa Scarf.
Study is centred around four major concepts: women’s health-focused care, evidence-informed and reflective practice, an ethical and collaborative approach which respects diversity, and contemporary strengths-focused leadership.
Choose from three in-demand majors
The course also offers three majors, allowing you to tailor the course to your personal and professional goals. “The tailored streams equip graduates with in-demand knowledge, skills and perspectives to enable them to have a positive impact on the lives of women and children,” says Dr Scarf.
In the Leadership and Management in Health Care major, you will learn to manage people and processes in a health services organisation with contemporary, strengths-focused leadership.
The Health Research major will build your foundational research skills and help you use your findings to advance and guide future policy in women’s sexual, reproductive and maternal health.
The third major is Reproductive Health, where you will develop specialised skills in reproductive and sexual health so you can educate and support people on their fertility journey.
There is a fourth option where you can choose four subjects from the major streams to build your own master’s degree. You can learn more about this on our website or by getting in touch with us.
Flexible study options
With contemporary, innovative and fully flexible study options at UTS Online, you can now undertake postgraduate study without compromising your work, family and personal commitments.
Not sure if you are eligible for a master’s degree? UTS Online also offers the Graduate Certificate in Women's and Children's Health and Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Health, which can be used as entry pathways into the master’s.
The time for change in women’s health is now
Transform the future of women’s and children’s health and progress your career.
Learn more about UTS Online’s Master of Women’s and Children’s Health on our website, or contact our Student Enrolment Advisors on 1300 477 423.
Note: All figures are correct as of December 2023.