- Published: 30 September 2013
Welcome to the Australian Federation of Medical Women’s (AFMW) Annual Report for 2013. We have had a very busy year as you will see from the summary on the following page. I would like to take this opportunity to formally thank all my colleagues on the Council and commend all those who run their state committees.
I would like to reflect on why we, as busy doctors and medical students, continue to volunteer to help administer our organisations. After all, making the ‘processes run’ in ‘spare time’ is not the most exciting thing most people can think of!
I believe that there are several reasons, including the networking and the opportunity to meet like-minded colleagues locally, nationally and internationally as well as the advocacy work. Subjects raised at dinners, seminars and conferences are often of specific interest to medical women and not readily available in other fora. There is also that sense of the historical place of our organisations and the importance of acknowledging those who have gone before in addition to recognizing how their work contributed to the advantages we have today. It is also interesting to contemplate what still needs to be done.
We might volunteer to help run our organisations for the same reasons that we joined. Our organisations provide a good way to gain experience in working on committees and running organisations thereby equipping us to serve on college committees and other medical, academic and government organisations. This can be at local, national and international levels through our society membership.
This year I had the privilege to attend the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) 29th Triennial Congress ‘Medical Women Advance Global Health’ in Seoul, Korea. I found it inspiring. Apart from meeting with 1100 medical women from all six continents (a fabulous experience in itself!), I was able to appreciate the role that each of us plays in our own home countries, as well as what we can do when we combine on the global stage. We share so much in terms of passions and challenges with women from all over the globe.
I implore you to browse the new MWIA website at www.MWIA.net and see for yourself what MWIA and its member countries are doing (also available on the AFMW website www.afmw.org.au). Better still – come to the next MWIA Congress in Vienna, Austria in 2016! There were many inspirational highlights, but one that I found particularly interesting was the presentation by MWIA President-Elect, Dr Bettina Pfeiderer. Her topic was ‘Gender and health – biological, cultural and power aspects. As members of the AFMW/MWIA, we try to think about the complex interplay between the individual‘s health, a gendered view of healthcare and the effects of the political, cultural and biopsychosocial environments on wellbeing. Bettina made these complex ideas more accessible in an intellectually satisfying and helpful way. Her presentation can be found on the AFMW website and I highly recommend it to you. Also, Marissa Daniels has an excellent summary on this meeting in her report.
The AFMW will continue to advocate for the health of all Australians, in particular women and children, whilst keeping in mind the place of women doctors in the world, both personally and professionally. The reasons to belong to this series of organisations – state, federal and international are as pertinent today as they ever were.
- Published: 09 July 2013
Happy New Financial Year to all members!
Who has found the level of political discourse rather disappointing over the past months? Whilst much can be said about the loss of our first female Prime Minister and her treatment in office (and the wider discussion of women in leadership positions), I am looking forward to what I hope will be a focus less on personalities and more on policy. As members of the general community as well as providers in the universal health care system in Australia, as well as for many of us, small business owners, there is so much to consider. However, enough said on these topics - whole essays and books could be written!
As for AFMW news, we are pleased to welcome Dr Rachel Goh as our AFMW Newsletter Editor. She has held extensive roles in editing, publications, advocacy and rural committee positions. Rachel is currently Secretary for the AMA's Women in Medicine Committee and is heavily involved in the AMA VIC Doctors in Training Committee, such as organising the annual DiT Ball this June. She has helped edit reports for the World Health Organisation, submitted articles to VicDoc and Medical Observer, and been Executive Editor and Chief Writer for an arts magazine and Monash Council. Throughout medical school she has acted on her keen interest in rural medicine. Rachel has over a year of clinical experience in both rural & remote areas such as Wadeye (the largest Indigenous community in the NT), Oenpelli, Shepparton, Cobram, Mt Beauty, and is currently based in Horsham. For her ongoing commitment and services to rural areas, she has received the Rural Communities Award. We look forward to working with Rachel.
- Published: 27 April 2013
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee has recommended that mifepristone (RU486) and another drug taken in conjunction, misoprostol, be covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. In the coming weeks the Government will consider the recommendation and a decision is expected to be made prior to the election. More information is available here.
- Published: 20 April 2013
Welcome to another AFMW newsletter!
First on the agenda is a reminder that the MWIA International Congress is on this year in Seoul, Korea July 31-August 2nd 2013. These meetings are only held every 3 years, this year’s theme is ‘Medical Women Advance Global Health’ more information can be found at http://www.mwiaseoul2013.org. These meetings are amazing to attend and I urge you to make attending a priority! For those who are attending, please ensure the AFMW Secretariat has your contact details. In addition, if you or anyone you know of has been a medical woman for 50 years or more please let the Secretariat know, as MWIA will be awarding Golden Jubilee Certificates at the Congress. If you are interested in the MWIA resolutions process and the current resolutions proposed, please contact the AFMW Secretariat. The resolutions are debated and agreed upon at each triennial congress and passed on to the United Nations. Current MWIA resolutions can be found here.
In other news, Dr Gabrielle Casper, Dr Raie Goodwach and Dr Magdalena Simonis via their MWIA memberships (automatically granted with your State or AFMW membership) attended the United Nations Council on the Status of Women Meeting 57. The themes were:
- Published: 20 March 2013
AFMW is proud to affirm its commitment to ending racism on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. AFMW has joined forces with some of Australia’s leading businesses, sporting bodies and NGO’s to support the “Racism. It stops with me” campaign, which is being led by the Australian Human Rights Commission. The campaign emphasises the importance of taking a stand against racism whenever it happens. AFMW has pledged to undertake activities that aim to prevent racism in support of the campaign.
One in seven Australians said they had experienced discrimination because of their colour or background in 2011, a figure that has been increasing steadily in recent years. The International Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1966, to coincide with the date in 1960 when police killed 69 people in Sharpeville, South Africa at a peaceful protest against apartheid laws. The theme for the International Day in 2013 is “Racism and Sport”.
For more information about the ‘Racism: It Stops with Me’ campaign, or to find a range of anti-racism resources, go to: http://itstopswithme.humanrights.gov.au/ or follow the campaign on Twitter @ItStopsWithMe.
- Published: 12 March 2013
AFMW extends hearty congratulations to the inspiring Dr Sue Packer who has been named the 2013 Canberra Citizen of the Year today for her commitment to the ACT community, and especially to the welfare of children and young people. To read more about Dr Packer and to listen to her speak about the award, her life and her work, please follow this link.