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President’s Message August 2020

The month of August has been dominated by my RACGP Presidential candidacy, although other important events have also been attended.

On August 22nd we participated in the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) virtual event for Beijing Platform for Action and each regional VP presented on work undertaken in their region on the 12 key areas which include:

  • Women and poverty
  • Education and training of women
  • Women and health
  • Violence against women
  • Women and Armed Conflict
  • Women and the Economy
  • Women in Power and decision making
  • Institutional mechanisms
  • Human rights of women
  • Women and the media
  • Women and the environment
  • The girl child

We are progressing despite the interruption to international events and conferences. The work we each do in our respective regions has intensified as the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the gender-based differences making the effort to address the gender gap on all levels an ongoing priority.

Locally in Melbourne, Women’s Health Victoria launched the joint project following successful completion of the pilot on Gender Equity Training. As a board member I attended the Zoom session with Minister Tierney (Education) and Minister Williams (Women and Sex Discrimination), as it has been funded by the State Government.

This aims to address the real issues we are witnessing which stem from deeply embedded unconscious and conscious biases. After the ministers spoke, others talked about what they learned from doing the training program. These were individuals who completed the training as part of our pilot, a male and a female. The man spoke about how uncomfortable he felt confronting the reality of his own unconscious biases. It has given him insights that he will apply in his life as a father and a partner. This is great feedback. The woman, however, cried as she spoke. Just doing the course resulted in her realising how her own life was being constrained by gender inequity. A big win for her was being given the ‘language’ to invite her husband on the journey. As a result, he now picks up the children from school while she can stay on at work! What this tells me, is that we have a long way to go. Education around Gender Equality is imperative for all. Education and training at all levels is needed. Then, things will change.


Magdalena Simonis

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