The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
I am pleased to provide an update on the progress of the Gender Equity and Diversity Working Group (GEDWG) and our work in identifying and addressing existing gaps in College policy and processes that hinder equitable, inclusive and diverse ways of engaging with, being a part of, and contributing to, the College.
Since the release of our landmark Gender Equity and Diversity Report at the RANZCOG 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting, we have been implementing many of the report’s recommendations and converting those into formal policies and processes that will improve gender equity within our College.
On leadership, the RANZCOG Board have agreed to adopt targets as a specific transitional tool to address gaps in gender inequity at College Board and Council level, with a suggested composition of 40% women, 40% men and 20% flexible. In order to effect longer term cultural change, targets were seen as more appropriate by the Board, compared to quotas as a transitional tool.
The GEDWG will now develop and set a formal policy for gender equity targets for the 2021 College Council and Board elections.
In training, we are expanding and facilitating flexible working hours and job sharing, and we want to encourage all trainees, irrespective of gender, to participate in parental leave.
We will also investigate the need, role and impact of quotas or targets at trainee selection and strive to have gender diversity for all RANZCOG training supervisors within each Integrated Training Program from 2022.
At trainee selection, we want to consider the use of blinded resumes in 2021 to improve diversity and will strive to have gender equity for all RANZCOG subspecialties trainees from 2021 and beyond.
With our Annual Scientific Meetings and related academic events, we are taking steps to ensure a gender balance is achieved for speakers, and we support the incorporation of ‘Best Practice Guidelines’ for selection of speakers and panellists into convenors’ guidelines.
At all RANZCOG Annual Scientific Meetings and RANZCOG-related events, feeding and parenting rooms will be available.
Along with these steps, the GEDWG is investigating the barriers and enablers to women taking on senior leadership roles at the College and we are also looking at the experience of medical students and their subsequent interest in joining our speciality training program.
The College is also developing education tools and resources on implicit bias and on leadership skills.
In addition, the College is currently consulting with Fellows on amendments to the Constitution that will see revisions to the term of office for the President, Board, Council and Council Committees from a three to a two-year term, starting from November 2021.
If this change is adopted, it will remove a significant deterrent for busy clinicians to participate in College governance, particularly women who shoulder the childrearing and parenting burden, and are often the carers for elderly parents.
Our task as a College is to identify and address barriers and gaps that may prevent our members from participating and contributing to College matters.
RANZCOG is committed and has a very clear path ahead in our efforts to achieving diversity, equity and inclusion.
The College is required to submit annual reporting to the Workforce Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) on the organisation’s gender equality metrics, including statistics on gender balance, part-time work, parental leave and promotions within the organisation.
I hope you will continue to engage with us and provide feedback to ensure that our collective endeavours will improve diversity in the College and the wider profession of obstetrics and gynaecology.
Together we can make a difference.
Dr Gillian Gibson