The Medical Women’s International Congress (MWIA) is on in July in New York for this triennium, and this congress is also celebrating the centenary of MWIA. I am one of a small number of young women (under 40yrs old) who has been fortunate enough to receive a travel grant to support my attending congress. I was actually able to attend the Vienna congress in 2016, and found it a rewarding experience. There is so much to learn from others experiences of medicine and community. One of the most memorable sessions in Vienna for me was learning about surrogacy laws in Sweden – it is illegal there as it is believed that the risks to the birth mother do not outweigh the benefits to the parents. Especially during this period of changes to laws in the USA regarding termination, I find these disparate views of pregnancy amazing.
This year I look forward to building friendships within the Australian contingent attending NY, but also to hopefully getting to visit the UN, and learning about ways to help others speak out and address inequalities. I am aware of my privilege – I am white, well educated, straight, able-bodied, English speaking, and a married mother. These all give me ease of access that other people, and especially other women, do not enjoy. With a myriad of interesting talks, I look forward to learning a lot, and reigniting my ambition to help drive change, with sessions like:
- imposter syndrome
- gender equity
- work life balance
- preventing burnout
- violence against women
- sexual harrassment
- sex and gender specific medicine
- women physicians – ambassadors of change
As MWIA is aligned with WHO and WMA, and can have an impact on health stances across the world, I also look forward the passing of resolutions in assembly with the AFMW getting a number of votes as a ratio per number of paid members (we are automatically members of AFMW and MWIA when we are paid members of our regional MWS).
And, of course, I look forward to meeting new people and making new friends.
Dr Mel Dorrington
AFMW 2019 Travel Grant Recipient