This has been another very busy quarter. Your AFMW Exec has taken on secretarial services themselves after protracted negotiation with Lifestylers.
We instituted a weekly AFMW Exec Tuesday morning teleconference. This year we plan to divert the secretarial budget to website revision. We also instituted a weekly ‘AFMW Visioning’ meeting during the first months of the COVID-19 crisis. This forum has created a platform for policy making about COVID-19 from which AFMW Exec have published an AFMW ‘Statement’ with resources on 22nd March, and a 2nd Statement with a further set of resources on 19th April. We have concentrated on issues relevant to women doctors, women’s health, and public health. Follow at www.afmw.org.au.
Following the success of this, and of the weekly AFMW Exec meetings, and two WHA Zoom meetings, your Exec also plan a weekly ‘Open Forum’ to unite the momentum of a number of the hardworking MWIA -AFMW member groups.
An AFMW constitutional review is planned for November 2020 AGM, to include an Aboriginal and Torres Strait doctor representation on AFMW Council, and to formalize yAFMW.
Last meeting, Council approved closer ties with DEA and this has been progressed. These are the issues that we request AFMW Council to discuss and vote on:
- Member surveying and communication
Whilst the following motion was voted on and passed at our last AFMW Executive, communication between members beyond their own States remains problematic, Your Executive does not have a list of our AFMW members across the 4 active states. Furthermore, the State Reps have not seen themselves as responsible for communication of, for instance, the existence of the COVID-19 Statements, or distributing newsletters, amongst their members. Because of the important dilemma around respecting members’ privacy, the membership application forms are disparate across States, with respect to an opt in or opt out policy regarding receiving direct communication from AFMW. It has been put to me that there may be a generational divide, with younger members joining so that they can play a role in national and international affairs through local State membership, and older members protecting their privacy and disliking their email address being provided to AFMW Exec to receive communication about MWIA and AFMW events and opportunities.
Recommendation 1 (this may be superceded by voting in the ‘Mailing list – For voting’ motion from Dr Daniels):
That AFMW State Reps, and others on Council, guide AFMW Exec as to how we can best gauge member opinion in our active member states in future, and how AFMW might better distribute its newsletters and updates to all Australian members. Your Executive would like all communication to go to State President, State Secretary, and State Reps on Council, and that each State let AFMW know their process for communicating with members. AFMW Secretary would like to receive a copy of all email addresses of State members.
- Governance – International: MWIA Finances and Insurances
Prompted by the recent arrival of the annual MWIA dues notice, the question of sufficient financial reporting back to member countries is highlighted. In turn, in order to calculate our dues, we are obliged to report our count of paying member numbers. The reply to the letter approved last meeting has been received. Your Exec recommend we take this matter further.
A recommendation was already passed in February 2020 at AFMW Council. This was ‘That the AFMW explore governance issues in MWIA prompted by the MWIA Dues notice.’ We now wish to take this further with the following draft wording to be sent to the MWIA Secretary General reply now that we have received the Financial Statements from MWIA in March 2020.
Recommendation 2 That a letter to this effect be sent to the MWIA SG:
Thank you for sending the financial documents we requested to explain how the dues that AFMW pays to MWIA are used. The financial statements received do not appear to show that there are payments for any insurance policies or fraud mitigation costs. We would now also therefore like to know what insurances and Directors’ and Officers’ indemnity MWIA carries.
Recommendation 3 For Voting May 2020
That the development of a Young AFMW group be furthered, and that a clause to this effect be drafted ready for voting on its insertion into the AFMW Constitution
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women doctors
Recommendation 4 For Voting May 2020 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women doctors
This move will form part of the AFMW Reconciliation Action Plan. That an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Councilor be appointed to AFMW, and that a clause be drafted ready for voting on its insertion into the AFMW Constitution.
- Virtual triennial general meeting / AGM and Council meeting in November
Recommendation 5 for Voting May 2020
That due to the COVID-19 in 2020, a triennial meeting of AFMW may be held by electronic communication (rather than face to face) in November 2020.
- ‘Climate change emergency’ – For Noting
With the event of extensive Australian bushfires in the 2019-2020 summer, the matter has become even more topical. There are a number of pressing gender issues in climate change. Our relationship with DEA is being consolidated.
Marissa is a paediatric intensive care medicine trainee based in Brisbane.