“Business Women Champions of the Heart” is Australia’s first network of senior business women dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease in women
The network comprises 16 senior female leaders of industry associations and business chambers from across Australia. They will be ambassadors for the Heart Foundation, supporting its efforts to educate the community about heart disease in women.
Business woman, urbanist and philanthropist Lucy Turnbull AO officially launched Business Women Champions of the Heart at an event in Sydney.
“I have long been a passionate supporter of women in leadership roles and an advocate for women’s health, so I am extremely proud to be launching this initiative,” Ms Turnbull said.
“The stereotype continues to persist that heart attacks and heart disease are male issues, but the numbers tell a different story. In Australia, 22 Australian women will die from heart disease each day, killing almost three times as many women as breast cancer,” she said.
“This needs to change, and forming a network of strong female business leaders to champion the cause is a great way to build on the work already being done in this area by Heart Foundation.”
James Pearson, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he was taken aback to learn that 46,000 Australian women are hospitalised due to heart disease each year.
“To raise awareness, we asked 16 female leaders who are members of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to become ambassadors for this deserving cause, and they’ve come on board with passion and enthusiasm,” Mr Pearson said.
“They will use their voices, influence, contacts and personal stories about heart disease and heart health to spread the word, and in turn help reduce the number of women’s lives being lost to heart disease.
“The Australian Chamber looks forward to initiating further ambassador opportunities for our female leaders, so we can continue to support the Heart Foundation in this vital work.”
Adjunct Professor John Kelly AM, Chief Executive Officer – National of the Heart Foundation, said heart disease in women remains largely under-recognised, undertreated and under-researched.
“Most women don’t even realise the extent to which they are vulnerable to heart disease. Our latest figures tell us that only 33 per cent of Australian women know that heart disease is a major cause of death for females,” Professor Kelly said.
“Meanwhile, the dangerous stereotype persists that heart disease is solely a men’s problem, making women aged 30 to 65 less likely than men to speak to their GP about heart disease or to have a heart health check.
“It doesn’t help that heart attack symptoms in women may be different from the classic ‘chest pain’ often seen on TV. Women may experience subtle symptoms, with chest pain not always present. Symptoms may include pain in the jaw, back or neck. They can also have shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and cold sweats, overwhelming fatigue or anxiety, lethargy and loss of appetite.
“I thank the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Women Champions of the Heart for helping us shed light on this invisible killer. With their passionate involvement, we hope to positively improve the health outcomes for Australian women,” Professor Kelly said.