“My issues would be somebody’s dinner time conversation”: The social barriers women face to access sexual and reproductive health services in rural and regional Australia

Justine attended the United Nations' Commission of the Status of Women 62 (CSW62) in 2018 and is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) at the University of Sydney. She is also the current editor of Australia’s most famous student newspaper, Honi Soit, and have led groundbreaking investigations into campus sexual assault that have contributed to institutional change.

Introduction

This paper argues that Australia’s existing policy framework for addressing adolescent access to sexual health services attempts to mitigate the geographical and practical barriers for rural and regional young women, but fails to address the social and cultural barriers they face.

The first part of this paper will canvass the social barriers for women to access sexual health services in regional Australia and examine the effectiveness of existing policies to address these barriers. The second part of this paper recommends the adoption of government policies that encourage the provision of sexual health services within public high schools. 

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