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International Women's Day 2024

Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress – the theme of International Women’s Day 2024

The day is not just a celebration of the achievements of women, it’s also a call to action. Women make up more than 90% of the carers and family members who are part of the Eating Disorders Families Australia (EDFA) community. This is much higher than the national average of 70% of carers being female and is a stark reminder of how much the mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and female friends and colleagues are doing to support a loved one with an eating disorder.

 

These carers form an essential support network for each other and for their loved ones. They do this by sharing experiences, showcasing their strengths, and acknowledging their crucial role while also investing in their own well-being. This sense of community can also significantly improve the mental well-being and resilience of female carers, enabling them to provide better care for their loved ones. On this International Women’s Day, we want every eating disorder carer to know they are “counted in” – none of them should feel alone or isolated. Support is available and recovery is possible.

This year’s theme is also particularly poignant as we look at the cost to Australian society of eating disorders.

According to the Butterfly Foundation and Deloitte “Paying The Price 2024” Report, the economic and social cost of eating disorders was $67 billion in 2023, a jump of 36% from 2012. Imagine what could be achieved if more was invested in the support and education of eating disorder carers? We have no doubt that more investment in the front line of the recovery team would lead to improved eating disorder recovery times and sustainability, thus reducing the overall burden on the Australian health care system.

So what does “invest in women” look like for EDFA?

It means making more education and resources available to female carers, while also raising awareness of the family experience of eating disorders. EDFA is proud to provide EDucation webinars and resources that address the unique challenges faced by carers. By empowering EDFA’s community with the knowledge and skills needed to provide the best support possible to their loved ones, EDFA firmly believes recovery times will be shortened and relapses will be less likely.

Investing in greater education and awareness will also help to alleviate the stigma that is often associated with eating disorders. Many carers are reluctant to reveal the pressure and challenges they are facing as they care for someone with an eating disorder for fear of shame or judgment. This needs to change.

The well-being of a loved one with an eating disorder is intricately connected to the support they receive.

When female carers are equipped with the right tools, knowledge, and emotional support, they will be better able to “accelerate progress” as they provide more effective care. For EDFA, investing in female carers is an investment in the overall health and well-being of the entire family and support network surrounding the person with the eating disorder.

On International Women’s Day, EDFA acknowledges our carers, the vast majority of whom are women. We also acknowledge our team – 80% of whom are also female and many of whom are also eating disorder carers. We thank them all for their refusal to give up hope, their steadfastness in their efforts to support their loved ones, and for all they then give back to others who are treading the same challenging path that they have taken.

About Eating Disorders Families Australia

Eating Disorders Families Australia (EDFA) is the only national organisation solely for carers and families of those with an eating disorder.  EDFA provides support, EDucation, advocacy, and counselling services. EDFA has a private forum, providing a safe place for  eating disorder carers and family members to share experiences, seek advice and assistance, and find hope. 

For more information about any of our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us