MWIA is dedicated to promoting a supportive network between all medical women; it confers opportunities for medical women to consider and work actively towards creating solutions for common issues. It advocates for gender equity and equality in the medical profession, as well as the provision of quality health care for women all over the world [1, 2].
In this regard, MWIA has official relations with various international bodies, such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations (it has Category II status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and membership in the UN Committee of NGOs (CONGO)), and, representing the voice of women, it collaborates actively with these international bodies to create awareness of gender and health, and develop policies and strategies that target issues of health inequities in women [1-3].
In its capacity as an NGO, MWIA has passed resolutions on various issues that impact the health of women, from abortion to HIV/AIDS. It has developed several programs and projects to educate medical professionals in matters that impact on the provision of appropriate health care, such as age, gender and culture. Its member associations are involved in various programs at national levels, such as immunization clinics, campaigns for violence against women, and the running of a hospital [2, 4, 5].
MWIA also holds a triennial International Congress: a forum for the exchange of ideas and discussion of problems that impact women’s health. It is being held this year; topics such as epidemic plagues (from HIV/AIDS to diabetes), and gender strategies in medicine, such as leadership, will be discussed. The congress encourages youth participation with its Young Doctors and Medical Students initiative .
MWIA is represented in 74 countries across all 5 continents, and in Australia, the Australian Federation of Medical Women (AFMW) is the national association of MWIA [1, 7]. Membership to AFMW confers an automatic membership to MWIA ; members are actively encouraged to participate and contribute to its activities, collectively leading change in medicine and health.
1. Medical Women’s International Association. Medical Women’s International Association. 2010 [Accessed: 26 April 2010]; Available from: http://www.mwia.net
2. Medical Women’s International Association, Annual Report 2004-2005. 2005, Medical Women’s International Association. p. 1-13.
3. World Health Organization, Overview of Activities 2004-2005: Gender, Women and Health in Headquarters and Regional Offices. 2006. p. 1-22.
4. Medical Women’s International Association. (2009) Update. No. 40, 1-23.
5. Medical Women’s International Association. (2010) Update. No. 41, 1-22.
6. Medical Women’s International Association. XXVII . MWIA International Congress 2010, Munster, Germany. 2010 [Accessed: 26 April 2010]; Available from: http://www.mwia2010.net/index.php?page=index1.
7. Australian Federation of Medical Women. MWIA. 2010 [Accessed: 26 April 2010]; Available from: http://afmw.org.au/mwia.
This short essay was written by Miss Madhura Naidu in 2011 for the AFMW 63rd UN DPI/NGO conference competition.