Happy International Women’s Day!

FMWC wishes all women everywhere a very happy International Women’s Day with a greeting, and special news, from our National Office. 

A very special happy International Women's Day to you all. As you may know, International Women's Day is celebrated worldwide, annually on March 8. The day is held to celebrate the social, cultural, economic and political achievements, recognizing that there is tremendous work still to be done.

This year's theme is Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change. There is much going on for IWD from an international campaign focused on #BalanceForBetter, recognition of female leaders - past and present - in various fields and celebrations of women in communities around the world. For this International Women's Day, like every other day of the year, the FMWC seeks to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality.

Celebrating Women’s Achievements

The number of women in medicine is growing annually, with numbers showing that approximately 55% of medical school classes are now women. Some specialties are even nearing gender balance in practice. We are now seeing more and more women in medical leadership roles, including Dr. Sarita Verma who will become Dean of Medicine starting this Summer at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

We have come a long way from 1924 when Dr. Maude Abbott founded the Federation at a CMA Meeting. Her leadership, among that of many other champions, continues to be an example bringing us together - even today, 95 years later.

Dr. Maude Abbott, Founder, FMWC

We are so happy to share with you that today, the Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications has named Dr. Maude Abbott as one of eight women newly named as historical figures for their work and influence in Quebec. Along with Dr. Abbott, Dr. Irma LeVasseur - the first French Canadian to practice medicine in Quebec and a pioneer in Quebec pediatrics was also recognized as one of the eight historical figures named today.

Dr. Irma LaVasseur

Abbott was further recognized today as the Government of Quebec announced the naming of Île Maude-Abbott in the Rivière du Nord in Saint-André-Est, QC. This island was renamed today, in her hometown, recognizing her lasting contributions as a physician, and as a woman of change

This recognition of two formidable women physicians is a small yet crucial part in celebrating where we've been, as we continue to work for gender balance in the field, and lead for gender equality.

Raise Awareness Against Bias

As far as we have come, there is still tremendous work to be done. We continue to face multiple challenges in the medical workplace including but not limited to the "maternal wall," barriers to participation, and challenges in power dynamics, and a lack of pay equity to name a few. We recently looked at the challenges of gender equity and diversity in the profession along with our colleagues at the CMA, which you can read about here.

We will continue to raise awareness - and wherever possible - find solutions to the biases and challenges facing women in medicine. Crucial in this work is your voice, experience and passion which we seek to share among one another, partners in the field, and policy makers.

Take Action for Equality

Our Federation was started by a formidable women who were unsatisfied by the status quo, and organized and took action to create a lasting change. Today, we are no different. As we mark International Women's Day 2019 we recognize the need to act in an effort to achieve gender balance and equity in our field. In the upcoming days, weeks and months, we will be continuing to grow our voice and actions supporting one another as women physicians in Canada. Our advocacy groups will continue to advocate for awareness and action on issues of importance to women, and women physicians. Our mentorship program will be pairing mentors and mentees together in the upcoming weeks strengthening connections and supporting one another even further. We will continue to share opportunities for you to put your expertise to work, not only with the Federation, but with our partners. Whether it be for Boards, panels, or awards, we will continue to nominate and recommend women whenever possible.

Today is a day of celebration, awareness, and action and we hope it finds you surrounded by supportive colleagues, friends and mentors. Women in medicine have come a long way, and we have work to do, but together we can create #BalanceForBetter.‘

Federation of Medical Women of Canada