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When The Fat Lady Sings

Dr Carolyn Quadrio is Consultant  Forensic and Family Psychiatrist and an Associate Professor in Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales.  She is well known as a teacher and supervisor of the psychotherapies, individual and marital and family, and has taught family therapy to multidisciplinary teams at several major teaching hospitals. She has published on marital and family therapy in relation to psychiatric disorders.  Her more recent research has been on Women in Psychiatry and on sexual abuse of patients in therapy and the long-term sequelae of childhood sexual abuse.

At the MWIA WPRC Dr Quadrio discussed

  • Structural and systemic issues impeding professional progression including discrimination, role strain, a lack of effective mentors, harassment and homosocial reproduction
  • Dilemmas faced by women leaders – for example, to ignore women’s issues is to support the status quo, but to advocate on behalf of women is also risky
  • Internalising attributions, a constant danger for minority groups which leads to loss of confidence and self esteem, risks emotional well being and undermines personal and professional development
  • Externalising problems – where men (and male-identified women) see problems as “women’s issues” and fail to see the systemic issues or gender advantage
  • The Glass Ceiling Effect in research and academia
  • The Solo Woman
  • The lack of evidence for a gendered preference in research career
  • Women’s domestic responsibilities
  • Queen Bee attitudes
  • Patronage
  • Chauvinism
  • The realities and impact of the family role
  • Role strain
  • Relationships with mentors

Dr Quadrio summarised her talk calling for more equitable representation at levels of seniority, power and policy, suggesting that this should not be driven solely through women competing with and emulating masculine standards. There needs to be structural and cultural change, with a modification of arrangements such as patronage and work structures. 

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