The Australian Male Policy: Unfinished Business

Main Article Content

John Macdonald


This comment on the Australian Male Health Policy draws on the framework suggested by Buse, May and Walt which suggests that insights can be achieved by looking at the content, context, process and actors involved.1 As a preliminary step in such analysis, these three elements are briefly looked at. This allows for acknowledgement of some of the strengths of the policy, not least of all its focus on the social determinants of men’s health, a framework often applied to other subpopulations, but rarely to men. On another positive note, the policy led to the funding of a national men’s health longitudinal study and support for the Men’s Shed movement. I also highlight the benefits of the community consultations which occurred, which allowed men from across the country to express their views on men’s health needs. Mention is made of the Brazilian Men’s Health Policy and the Irish Men’s Health Policy and Action Plan from which lessons could be learned.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Macdonald, J. (2018). The Australian Male Policy: Unfinished Business. International Journal of Mens Social and Community Health, 1(SP1), e50-e56.
Author Biography

John Macdonald, Western Sydney University, Australia

Director of Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre, 


1. Buse K, May N, and Walt G. Making health policy. OUP; 2012.
2. Walt G, Shiffman J, Murray SF, et al. Doing’ health policy analysis: methodological and conceptual reflections and challenges, Health Pol Plan 2008;23(5)308–17.
3. Australian Government Department of Health. Male Health Policy. Available at:
4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Life Expectancy. Available at:
5. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Measures of Australia’s Progress, Health Socio Economic Disadvantage. 2010. Available at:
6. WHO.The World Health Report. Primary Health Care, Now more than ever. Geneva: Author; 2008. Available at:
7. Richardson N and Carroll P. Making men visible in health policy: Lessons learned from Ireland's National Men's Health Policy: Eur J Pub Health 2017;27(suppl_3)1.
8. Brown A and Macdonald JJ. Men's health around the world: A review of policy and progress across 11 countries D. Wilkins & E. Savoye (Eds.); 2009. Available at:
9. Robertson S, Witt, K, Zwolinsky S, and Day R. Men's health promotion interventions: What have we learned from previous programmes? Commun Practit 2013;86(11):38–41.
10. Macdonald JJ. A different framework for looking at men’s health. Int J Men’s Health 2016;15(3):283–95.
11. Australian Medical Association. Position Statement on Men’s Health; 2018. Available at:
12. Garfield CF, Isacco A, and Rogers TE. A review of men's health and masculinity. Am J Lifestyle Med 2008;2(6):474–87. doi: 10.1177/1559827608323213
13. Mahalik JR, Burns SM, and Syzdek M. Masculinity and perceived normative health behaviors as predictors of men's health behaviors. Soc Sci Med 2007;64(11):2201–209. doi:
14. Philbrick DM. A Study on the Effect of Fulfilling Hegemonic Masculine Norms on Men's Health Across Regions. (PhD), De Paul University, Chicago; 2015. Available at:
15. European Union. State of Men’s Health in Europe. The European Commission; 2011.
16. Tan H, Ng C, Ho C, and Teo C. Asian men's health report Foundation for Men's Health [online]; 2013. Available at:
17. Minister for Health and Children. National Men’s Health Policy. (Ireland); 2008. Available at:
18. Connell RW. Masculinities and Men’s Health: Thinking on a World Scale. Paper Presented at the Men, Health and Wellbeing: Critical Insights Conference, Leeds Beckett University; 2014.
19. Connell RW and Messerschmidt JW. Masculinidade hegemonica: Repensando o conceito. Estudos Feministas, Florianapolis 2013;21(1):241–82.
20. Courtenay WH. Constructions of masculinity and their influence on men's well-being: A theory of gender and health. Soc Sci Med 2000;50(10):1385–401. doi:
21. Schofield T, Connell RW. Walker L, Wood JF and Butland DL. Understanding men's health and illness: a gender-relations approach to policy, research, and practice. J Am Coll Health 2000;May;48(6):247–56.
22. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,(USA), Social Determinants of Health, Know What Affects Health. Available at:
23. Macdonald JJ. Shifting paradigms: A social-determinants approach to solving problems in men's health policy and practice. Med J Aust 2006;185(8).
24. Doctors Reform Society. Gender and Sexual Health. Available at:
25. Braveman P, Egeter S, and Williams DR. The social determinants of health: coming of age. Ann Rev Pub Health 2011;32:381–98.
26. Australian Men’s Health Forum. Preventing Male Suicide. Available at:
27. Ministério da Saúde Brasil. National Policy of Integral Attention to Men’s Health (PNAISH)Secretaria de Atenção à Saúde. Departamento de Ações Programáticas e Estratégicas, 2009.
28. Spindler E. Beyond the Prostate: Brazil’s National Healthcare Policy for Men PNAISH), EMERGE Case Study 1, Promundo-US, Sonke Gender Justice and the Institute of Development Studies; 2015. Available at: