WWDA has released a position statement urging the Australian Government’s National Autism Strategy to be gender responsive and inclusive. The strategy should consider the diverse experiences of autistic people of marginalised genders, including women, girls, and non-binary and gender-diverse people. The statement highlights several key issues:

  • Diagnosis Challenges: An estimated 80% of autistic women and girls remain undiagnosed by age eighteen, leading to delays in receiving necessary support.
  • Access to Supports: Delays in diagnosis create barriers to accessing support, with service providers often questioning diagnoses or lacking understanding of needs.
  • Data Deficiency: A lack of gender-disaggregated data hampers efforts to identify and address gender-specific needs and outcomes.
  • Healthcare Disparities: Autistic individuals, especially women and gender diverse people, face significant barriers to healthcare, compounded by gender bias within the system.
  • Violence and Discrimination: Autistic women and girls experience disproportionately high rates of violence, with some studies indicating that up to 90% have faced sexual violence.

The strategy must be developed in collaboration with autistic individuals and their representative organisations, including those most marginalised, with a focus on promoting acceptance, understanding, and full inclusion. It must be rights-based and responsive to the needs of autistic Australians who face overlapping forms of marginalisation.

Read WWDA’s position, what we know and our full recommendations in our position statement.