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Membership organisations vital in promoting gender equity


Professional membership organisations play a vital role in healthcare careers through various mechanisms:

  • They are the professional bodies that develop standards and curricula for postgraduate vocational training;
  • They control entry into and exit out of vocational training programs;
  • They develop accreditation standards and are responsible for accreditation of health care services for vocational training;
  • Once training is over, they provide continuing professional development for their members in order to qualify for medical registration;
  • They are key in negotiating enterprise bargaining agreements;
  • They offer a variety of leadership opportunities through participation in their education, policy and governance committees;
  • They offer competitive awards and funding opportunities.

They also have a unique opportunity to promote gender equity and promote the leadership of women.

The Advancing Women in Healthcare Leadership (AWHL) program will explore what the role of membership organisations are, and how well they are currently progressing gender equity. Together with partners, AWHL plans to co-design and co-produce evidence-informed actions which are implementable and measurable at an organisation systems level to advance women in healthcare leadership. This work forms part of a PhD being undertaken by Dr Jenny Proimos.

To begin this exploration, a workshop was held with all the professional member organisation partners. At this workshop, a mapping of all publicly available information websites was presented for discussion. The mapping found that there was variability in the progress on gender equity activities across the organisations. In general, most organisations have made gender equity a priority, but there was relatively little information available on their websites.

Interactive discussions among the organisation representatives then explored options for further actions. Preliminary outcomes were a general enthusiasm to work collectively as a group of organisations on consistent policies, advocacy and explore accreditation standards to promote gender equity in the healthcare services in which their trainees work.

Over the next year, the project will further explore expectations, issues and potential actions by interviewing key people within the organisations. A survey will then be organized to also ascertain their views. Results from the qualitative and quantitative research will be used to identify a series of potential activities. A prioritization process will then be used to decide which actions will be prioritised for implementation by the organisations themselves.

Original content from Monash University. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.

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Nina Alvarez is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel. Her interests include writing, particularly about the healthcare sector and the many ways it can improve to further benefit people from all walks of life.


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