Dear Friends and colleagues,
International Women’s day has prompted me to stop and think specifically about the girls and young women we care for, their health and the world they will be inheriting.
I can’t help but ask myself – am I doing enough? What more could I be doing?
Although I have always seen myself primarily as a clinician with a keen interest in questioning what we do, and thus leading me to also be a researcher, I am increasingly conscious that my role as an educator and advocate is as important if not more important as this role may actually lead more changes and progress.
As you also will have noted, the role of teacher and educator has changed quite rapidly. I hardly need to tell you that writing text books and giving lectures, although still a method of educating, has changed to thinking about education via social media, online resources and web-based education programs. At the World Congress in Melbourne at the end of the year, there will be a more than lectures from experts – hopefully you will be challenged to think about some of the complex areas we work in and consider how we can make a difference.
I am trying hard to increase my use of these resources but also to develop my skills to put up blogs and face book live educational events. The FIGIJ website is also trying to respond to this by the development of resources and links regarding a whole range of topics – but I never the less wonder (and worry) whether they are reaching you, my colleagues and friends, FIGIJ members, all of you who are working in paediatric and adolescent gynaecology? And are these resources reaching the young women, the girls and their families? Have you looked at the website recently?
Being an advocate can be challenging for you and I as individuals – as it means you may be out of step with the ideas and views of some of your colleagues, or some members of the community, or your administrators or politicians. We need to have the courage to ensure that the women of the future do have access to education – both in general and in regards to their sexual and reproductive health; that they do have access to contraception and safe abortions; that there is adequate provision of health care to women; that FGM is not OK; that tackling violence against women needs to be taken up by community as a whole; that we need to be involved in ensuring that the environment we live in, that we depend on, is managed with respect, so that there is a liveable world for the young of today, their children and their grandchildren.
The World Congress will be offering you a chance to be challenged with difficult areas and the topics that require us to be advocates. The Congress will be going green out of respect for our environment – avoiding paper disposable cups, avoiding paper program and abstract books instead having this all on an app, and by encouraging public transport .
If you and I don’t have the courage to take on these issues- then who will?
I wonder whether International Women’s Day has made you stop and reflect as well? And if so – what were your thoughts?
Best wishes to all.
See you in Melbourne.
President of International federation of Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology
I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which I work, and pay my respects to the Elders, past and present.