WONCA Working Party: Women & Family Medicine

Women & Family Medicine

The Wonca Working Party on Women and Family Medicine (WWPWFM) was established at the 16th International Conference of Wonca in Durban, in 2001. The Working Party takes a leadership role in advocating for the concerns raised by women doctors and women’s health in family medicine/general practice. The Working Party was consolidated at the 17th Wonca World conference, in Orlando, in 2004. It has had successful preconference events at many meetings since, including the 18th Wonca World conference in Singapore, 2007, regional meetings, and at Wonca World conference, in Cancun, in May 2010. WWPWFM  has workshops and events at Wonca regional meetings, and aims to have a policy development working meeting in between each triennial Wonca World conference. The next is planned for Canberra, Australia, in September 2012. 

WWPWFM is a policy initiator in gender equity. The Hamilton Equity Recommendations (HER statement) and 10 steps to gender equity, developed  at the mid triennial meeting held in Hamilton Canada, in 2006, were adopted by Wonca World Council, in Singapore in 2007. Important by-laws changes, and the establishment of the Organisational Equity Committee, were adopted by Wonca World Council, in Cancun in 2010.

Membership is open to all interested family doctors. Interested doctors are invited to contact your regional lead and attend the WWPWFM workshops at regional Wonca meetings

Convenor / Chair

Prof Zorayda (Dada) Leopando (Philippines)

email convenor

Dada was made a WONCA Fellow in 2007 - one of 28, of whom only three are women.

Dada held the position of WONCA Asia Pacific Regional Vice President (now called Regional President) from 1995 to 2001. When she completed her term, achievements included: there were three regional conferences held including family medicine education workshops and four conferences scheduled through 2006; a regional structure with a set of officers, functioning committees on quality assurance, research, education, classification; the ground work for the launch of the Asia Pacific Family Medicine Journal had been done with editors-in-chief, an editorial board and peer reviewers in place. The journal is now in its tenth year as the official scientific publication of WONCA Asia Pacific, is with Biomed Central and is Pubmed-listed; twinning was started and Asia Pacific has mechanisms developed for member organizations to assist new ones in family medicine enhancement; the nomination process for the Wes Fabb Oration, honoring Professor Wesley Fabb, WONCA CEO was approved.

She was Overall Chair of the WONCA Asia Pacific Regional Conference, which the PAFP hosted in Cebu, in February 2011. She was also the overall Chair for the Golden Anniversary Celebration of the PAFP held at the same conference.

Dada is currently one of the co-editors-in-chief of Asia Pacific Family Medicine Journal, a position she has held since 2001. She is also the Chair-Elect of the WONCA Working Party on Women in Family Medicine, after having been a member of the working party’s core executive, since 2004.

Why has Dada lasted for almost 20 years working for WONCA? It is the self- fulfillment, the friends she has met and kept though these years, and the opportunity to make a difference.

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Co-Convenor or other office bearers

Past Chair: Amanda Barnard (Australia)

Deputy Chair/Chair Elect:
Kate Anteyi, (Nigeria)

WWPWFM leaders Amanda Barnard, Amanda Howe and Cheryl Levitt

Executive Members


Core executive
Chair: Zorayda Leopando (Philippines)
Chair Elect: Kate Anteyi (Nigeria)
Past Chair: Amanda Barnard (Australia)

Region leads

Africa: Jane Frances Namatovu, Uganda
Asia Pacific : Aileen Riel Espina, Philippines
Eastern Mediterranean: Omneya Elsherif, Egypt,
Europe: Nil Tekin, Turkey
Iberoamerica: Liliana del Castillo Arias, Colombia
North America : Lucy Candib, USA and Dorothy Janga, Netherlands Antilles
South Asia: Sameena Shah, Pakistan

Expanded Executive

add the following alternate leads
Africa: Temitope Ilori, Nigeria
Asia Pacific;: Dhanasari Vidiawati, Indonesia and Tin Myo Han, Malaysia and Myanmar
Eastern Mediterranean: Sanaa Alkaisi, Iraq
Europe: Caroline Thurlow, UK and  Jessica Watson
Ibero America: Ma. Fernanda Blanco, Argentina
North America: Josephine Fowler, USA and  Naila Karim, Canada
South Asia: Deepama Sumanasekera, Sri Lanka

Young leads

  • Asia- Pacific: Emily Farrell
  • Africa: Funmi Daramola
  • Iberoamericana: Andreali Moron
  • North America: Noemi "Mimi" Doohan
  • Europe: Raquel Gomez Bravo

Vision and Mission of WONCA Working Party on Women & Family Medicine

Vision: To promote the role of women family doctors working in Wonca to highlight their special contributions and reduce the barriers facing them, thereby enabling them to reach their full potential and enhance the contributions of family physicians/GPs around the world to clinical care, women’s health, education, research and leadership in family medicine.

Objectives of the WONCA Working Party on Women & Family Medicine

  • To identify key issues of r women doctors working in family medicine in all Wonca member countries, including developed and developing countries, and rural and remote areas, and to seek solutions to common problems.
  • To review Wonca polices and procedures on representation, programs, training, research, management, leadership and support structure, an ensure that these polices are equitably, transparently and effectively implemented
  • To provide opportunities for international exchange of knowledge and expertise on women and family medicine at regional and international Wonca meetings, and through electronic means such as the WWPWFM listserv and website.
  • To reduce linguistic, cultural and economic barriers to women family physicians/GPs participating in Wonca initiatives
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of WWPWFM



WWPWFM has a workplan which is set at the preconference at each Wonca  World meeting, and reviewed and updated at the mid triennial meeting. The 2010-2103 Action plan has specific strategies and actions covering the following areas.

Gender Equity

  • Promulgation of Gender Equity Bylaw Amendments, and working on the Organisational  Equity Committee
  • Ensure that Wonca 2013 (Prague) and other Wonca regional and rural meetings have gender equitable programmes.
  • Develop check list and implementation strategy for Gender Equity Standards
  • Explore, promote and translate the 10 Steps to Gender Equity and Health into the core publications and mission statement of Wonca
  • Work closely with established early career organisations to ensure gender equality within their organisational structures and workings 

 Young Women Doctors and Emerging Leaders

  • Promote development of young/new family physicians with particular attention to overcoming their challenges and barriers to full development.
  • Provide mentorship to others within the group as requested, specifically the younger participants whose careers are still being developed.
  • Improve representation of early career family practitioners in Wonca

WWPWFM – supporting family medicine and women doctors

  • Support Wonca activities in ensuring Family Medicine/General Practice  is a respected speciality throughout the world.
  • Support members of the WP to showcase the ways in which their practice and research contribute to the care of women patients, by sharing these in the group and presenting related work in Wonca meetings.
  • Commit the Working Party to continue to address issues of linguistic diversity
  • Create and apply for prizes  for recognition of the work done by a family physician who has embodied the issues of gender and equity for women in their clinical and academic practice: also for a younger doctor of exceptional achievement
  • Further partnering with Rural Working Party
  • Continue to secure and distribute bursaries for travel to maximum effect, using the WWPWFM  budget in an equitable fashion.

Education and Research

  • Work within Wonca to ensure that the ICPC codes can deliver accurate information about the issues highlighted in the care of women patients.
  • Research – promote research and workshops addressing gender barriers at conferences
  • Leadership and education -Leadership workshops at regional and world meetings, and support members to submit abstracts and present these at all Wonca meetings, including prepare women’s track for Wonca Prague 2013


Committee’s three most important activities or achievements 2007–2010 triennium

Key activities for coming triennium

  1. Equity.  WWPWFM’s work following HER statement leading to Wonca Councils’ adoption of Bylaws changes to enhance gender equity, the  establishment of the Organizational Equity Committee and approval of Gender Equity Standards for scientific meetings in Cancun in 2010

  2. Establishing a focus on young women doctors and the LEAD statement.

  3. Promoting understanding and scholarship about women and family medicine, and  active engagement on list-server

  1. Support & develop pre-conferences & workshops at regional meetings and the participation of young women doctors

  2. Develop a check list for  Gender Equity Standards in  preparation for 2013, and develop dissemination and implementation plan

  3. Mid triennial meeting to consider above, plus Review  2010-2013 action plan,  continued work with young women doctors who prepared the LEAD statement, and develop education for gender equity resources

  4. key documents into Spanish & other languages.. 


WWPWFM executive members meet with Professor Michael Kidd (WONCA President Elect) in Canberra, Australia, in 2012.

Photo of WWPWFM at Cebu, in 2011

Photo of WWPWFM with Prof Chris van Weel at Cancun, 2010

Relevant Resources

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