Australian Federation of Medical Women (AFMW) announces new President

The Australian Federation of Medical Women (AFMW) represents the ‘voice of medical women’ and we are the conduit for great impact in the community. Our vision is to uplift the health of women and children as well as developing partnerships, with the intention of empowering others to do the same.

It is a not for profit, non-government organisation that seeks to improve the health of all Australians, especially the health of women and children. Having a seat at the health reform decision-making tables is what I aim for, as women’s health and gender equity are my passions alongside preventative care.

Although health advocacy and health reform are key objectives of ours, we also undertake research through partnerships ‘Happy Health Women, not just survivors’ and the 'Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery Research Project'.

The University of Melbourne’s Strength of Mind book and exhibition makes special reference to some of the marvellous medical women pioneers who headed up the Queen Victoria Hospital.

Through AFMW’s connection with the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA), medical women like myself have also taken positions representing women and women doctors at WHO and UN, thereby amplifying our efforts.

Very recently, we participated in the very informative MWIA Western Pacific Region, COVID-19 Symposium which was hosted by the Korean Medical Women’s Association, by Zoom. Nine countries from the region gave a presentation outlining their nation’s response and I delivered the Australian case study. Although the COVID-19 experiences and responses varied, we all came to the same agreement, that equal representation and leadership by women in medicine, along with gender-sensitive decision-making, teaching and research, is needed to bring the diversity, work styles and values of women to the profession.

When confronted with the unknown risks of COVID-19, and before evidence-based research became available, we held weekly meetings by Zoom and invited leaders in their field such as Professor Raina McIntyre.  These exchanges from around the country culminated in the draft of a set of recommendations for medical women in the workplace around mask fitting and safety, COVID-19 exposure during pregnancy and breastfeeding including the need for self-care.

Our Saturday forums are now a regular event, open to non-members and they provide a wonderful opportunity for researchers and leaders of their field, to share their knowledge and build networks with medical women around the country. I invite you to join us.