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“Australian Women Doctors: Climate Change Advocates and Activists”, United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) Parallel Event [RECAP]

Recap of the "Australian Women Doctors: Climate Change Advocates and Activists", United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) Parallel Event

On March 20, AFMW hosted a Parallel Event at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). This year, AFMW’s topic was “Australian Women Doctors: Climate Change Advocates and Activists”.

CSW is held annually over a two week period in March. AFMW traditionally sends representatives to attend in person, but this hasn’t been possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to contribute to this important event despite travel restrictions, AFMW successfully applied to host an event at the online NGO CSW Forum.

We were delighted to present to the international audience a program including presentations by esteemed colleagues from AFMW and other important national organisations including Dr Kimberly Humphrey, Deputy Chair of Doctors for the Environment Australia; Dr Kate Wylie, Founder of Climate Medicine; and Dr Liz Rickman and Dr Sarah Burrowes from the Australian Lesbian Medical Association.

The event was alarming and inspiring in equal measure. Specific ways in which climate change will affect women were discussed, along with ways everyone can get involved in mitigating and adapting to our changing environment.

Climate change disproportionately affects the health of the unborn, pregnant women, children and disadvantaged and marginalised people. I highly recommend to you the event recording (below) so you can experience this event for yourself.

For those who want to make a difference but aren’t sure how to take the first step, Dr Madhura Naidu has some fantastic suggestions:

  • Educate ourselves: what are workplace contributors to the climate crisis? How can we recycle, manage waste, choose tests wisely, reduce consumption?
  • Engage with intention: we can contribute to the amplification of educated voices from organisations including DEA and the Climate and Health Alliance, to name a few.
  • Evaluate ourselves and our contribution: what are our values, what meaningful actions can we identify with, what are we good at and how can these skills be useful?

Dr Kate Wylie’s inspiring presentation includes advice for those wishing to become activists:

  • find a mentor
  • do something, and know that it doesn’t have to be perfect
  • be brave and have courage.

The climate crisis is a health crisis, and we all have the responsibility and power to influence change for the better. Dr Kimberly Humphrey presented an inspiring call to action:

  • Women are more likely to live a daily life in ways that benefit the planet
  • Generational knowledge of adaptation and mitigation is efficiently and effectively transferred by women
  • Investing in education of girls improves the lives of women and all life on the planet, and
  • Female leaders are more likely to take leadership on climate change.

The ensuing discussion with our international audience was the next best thing to mixing with global leaders in person at CSW. One focus was the importance of ensuring we acknowledge the emotional and psychological toll of working in this space. Useful resources can be found here.

So, NOW is the time to act to protect our home and health for ourselves and future generations, and to inspire others to do the same.


View Event Flyer and Programme

AFMW CSW 66 Parallel Event Flyer

AFMW CSW 66 Parallel Event Programme


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