Recap: VMWS presents ‘All about Intersectionality, Feminism and Health Equity’

If there is one word, I could use to describe VMWS’ ‘All about Intersectionality, Feminism and Health Equity’ event – it would be ‘inspiring’. 

Held on the 16th of September, we were joined by an expert panel of almost 10 and over 50 attendees, passionate about the topic of intersectional feminism and its complex relationship with healthcare. 

The night was opened by Dr Emily Gray, sociologist, and founder of FEAS (Feminist Educators Against Sexism) who took us through the definition of intersectional feminism and the concept of power mapping. She was joined by A/Prof Nada Hamad, a haematologist, who shared her own experience within the healthcare system as both a biracial doctor and patient. 

Dr Gray then led a rapid-fire panel discussion, which gave each of the following experts the chance to highlight pertinent issues within the communities they had served:

  • A/Prof Ruth McNair (speaking on LGBTQIA+ patients)
  • Dr Mariam Tokhi (speaking on patients from lower socioeconomic demographics)
  • Dr Samantha Loi (speaking on patients with mental health concerns)
  • Dr Kate Gregorevic (speaking on ageism/elderly patients)
  • Helen Freris and Rosie Granland (speaking on patients with disabilities)
  • Dr Gill Singleton (speaking on patients of refugee and asylum seeker origin)

 

*Please note Dr Vinka Barunga (speaking on First Nations patients) was unable to attend the event due to a last-minute emergency and we acknowledge that her wisdom and knowledge would have been invaluable.

The final part of the night saw us split into small breakout groups with each of the experts to discuss different pre-prepared scenarios addressing each of the topics they had spoken upon. Overall, a successful and thought-provoking night, fuelled by passionate discussion albeit via the chat function on Zoom! I speak on behalf of the entire VMWS committee when I say we left the event feeling simply, invigorated. 

VMWS is grateful for our wonderful panel members who kindly volunteered their time and our audience who participated with great enthusiasm. A special thank you to our very own student members Sarah Robinson and Raleena Mendis alongside our Events Coordinator Dr Jess Motyer who were instrumental in organising this event.

The recording of this event is available for VMWS members through our website.

Some great quotes and thoughts from the event:

“Women being believed is a problem in culture and society broadly, this is also reflected in medicine. Being believed is so integral to the therapeutic relationship. This issue affects women predominantly.”
A/Prof Nada Hamad
Haematologist
“So often, when women are extremely distressed- we are not interested in the cause of their distress, but in labelling them with personality disorders.”
Dr Mariam Tokhi
General Practitioner
“Definitely (there are) issues with labels, especially borderline personality disorder. How patients are handed over to medical staff can really frame things with a negative bias, which flows through every encounter with the patient, sadly.”
Dr Anne Stanaway
VMWS Archivist
“Sandwich carers and women in general, because of this, end up with less super/retirement income so end up being poorer in old age.”
Dr Madhura Naidu
VMWS President
“One of the things I reflect on listening to the amazing perspectives in that in medicine we are accustomed and have the privilege of immediate trust. We forget for some patients we need to earn trust it is not a given. The irony is that we at trained not to trust data, lived experience etc so we are perhaps not so good at earning trust?”
A/Prof Nada Hamad
Haematologist

Resources and articles shared during the event – some even written/produced by our panel members:

  1. An article written by Dr Kate Gregorevic on women’s experiences of dementia: https://aeon.co/essays/how-the-life-paths-of-men-and-women-affect-the-diagnosis-of-dementia
  2. An article written by our very own Dr Deb Colville exploring gendered medicine: https://theconversation.com/medicines-gender-revolution-how-women-stopped-being-treated-as-small-men-77171
  3. “Return of Race Science” by Angela Saini (book recommendation)
  4. “Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth” by Dána-Ain Davis (book recommendation)
  5. FEAS: www.feministeducatorsagainstsexism.com
  6. Dr Ruth McNair’s education module, ‘Trans GP Module’:  https://nwmphn.org.au/for-primary-care/clinical-support/lgbtiq-support/

Written by: Dr Shiva Sridhar 

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