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2B.004 Another gender data gap: womens drowning in New Zealand
  1. Karen Wells
  1. Water Safety New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand


Background There is currently a paucity of literature regarding female drowning worldwide. The majority of research on drowning discusses female drowning as a secondary topic to male drowning. Drowning fatalities are predominantly males in New Zealand which has potentially led to a lack of focus on female drowning. This research is the first of its kind in New Zealand.

Method This research first outlines the breadth and consequences of the gender data gap. Analysis of DrownBase (New Zealand’s drowning data base) data from the last 40 years has been undertaken. This data analysis focused on trends in female drowning data over the last 40 years to identify the risk factors relating to female drowning and how they have changed.

Results Results show that the issue of female fatal and non-fatal drowning is a growing problem. Female drownings are rising in New Zealand, with 20% more fatalities and a 30% increase in non-fatal drownings in 2018 compared to the 2013–2017 five-year average. Female drowning differs to male drowning, in 2018 61% of female fatalities were a result of accidental immersions (in contrast to 35% of male fatalities).

Conclusion This research identifies key risk factors pertaining to female drowning and contributes to SDGs 3 good health and wellbeing and 5 gender equality. It has the potential to inform future drowning prevention interventions for females and the development of future research into the drivers of female drowning, both within New Zealand and globally.

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