The resilience of young women thriving against all odds

Burnet Institute

11 March, 2019

Thanks to our long-time supporter Ms Chloe Bryce Shorten who took time out to pen this blog, shining a light on the resilience of women, especially young women, and the great work underway by Burnet’s Young People’s Health researchers to tackle key health issues.

Below is an excerpt of the IWD 2019 Blog, reproduced with permission.

In the last few days, I’ve been struck once again by the resilience of women.

I had the privilege of launching Natasha Stott Despoja’s new book about the scourge of family violence, I heard from the Children’s Commissioner of Victoria about the work they do to give girls a decent start at life, and heard from two wonderful organisations looking at women’s health and wellbeing.

These shining lights of research and action are the hope we need to improve the lives of girls and young women all over this country. Burnet Institute is conducting a long term study into young women’s health, and Foyer Foundation is a quiet, but vital, player in the world of youth homelessness.

… As we mark this International Women’s Day I am reminded that it’s a time to scrutinise our experience as women, but also to take stock of women’s innate strength, and celebrate all those girls and young women who thrive against all odds.

I want to share the story of a young woman, Chrissy. To me she is nothing less than extraordinary and her story demonstrates the power of organisations like Foyer Foundation.

Foyer Foundation is a national not-for-profit organisation that works on the deep challenge of youth homelessness and unemployment in Australia.

… This week I also attended Burnet’s International Women’s Day lunch with my daughter and my niece, and listened to their brilliant researchers. We were riveted by Liana Buchanan, the Victorian Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People.

Burnet is the organisation who is building the primary evidence through long-term research about young people’s health and well-being. Since 2005 they have been conducting a landmark survey – Sex, Drugs, & Rock ‘n’ Roll – to understand the health and key issues affecting young people in Australia – analysing data from more than 15,000 study participants. Their work has been wide-ranging, from risk behaviours, how these have changed over time, to alcohol and drug use, mental health and the impact of digital media. These highlight a stark reality of being a young woman in this country.

Their 2018 survey provides an excellent snapshot of the pressures girls and young women face today, with an alarming 60 per cent of respondents not satisfied with their physical appearance and 46 per cent following “fitspo” accounts (fit inspiration).

To read the entire blog click here.


Health Issue

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Associate Professor Megan SC Lim

Deputy Program Director, Behaviours and Health Risks; Head, Young People’s Health




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