International Women’s Day: 8th March 2024

A woman can effect change in any sphere of life, contributing to the betterment of the world.

International Women's Day (IWD) is a day to celebrate and honour the achievements of women who have made a difference in the world through equity, justice, reproductive rights, and the fight against violence toward women. They have truly raised awareness of gender equity and significantly contributed to society.

If women are good managers at home, they can also be excellent managers elsewhere. The United Nations theme for this International Women's Day is "Count Her In: Invest in Women, Accelerate Progress." This recognises the significant impact women can have on global progress. Have we realised the magnitude of a woman's contribution? Let’s look at some examples:

Marie Curie, a Polish-French physicist and chemist, discovered polonium and radium, pioneering the field of radioactivity. She was the first female professor at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan environmental activist, founded the Green Belt Movement and was the first African woman to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.

Malala Yousafzai (a Pakistani) fought for girl’s education in Taliban.

Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka was the world's first female Prime Minister. The idea of having a woman leader was unthinkable at that time to the public. She raised the awareness of women’s contributions to the world. 

Savitribai Phule was one of the first female teachers in India and advocated for women’s education. She is the mother of Indian Feminism, built a well for the untouchables, and took care of child widows.

Valentina Tereshkova (a Soviet Union astronaut) was the first woman to fly to space.

Indra Nooyi (an Indian Business executive, and former CEO of PepsiCo) was among the first women to lead a global corporation of PepsiCo's size and influence, making significant contributions to its strategy, direction, and initiatives toward health and sustainability.

Mother Teresa (an Albanian) cared for the poor and was the founder of the Missionaries of Charity.

Suha Hamshari (Palestine) is still catering to injured people in war zones and Atai Omoruto (Uganda) responded to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. 

There are many more women who have significantly impacted the world. All these women have shown the world that a woman can make a change in any field to improve the quality of life. Hence, gender equity in any field should be emphasised to have a safe and healthy environment. This will improve the quality of life and progress in the world.

I am happy to announce that 3 regions of the WONCA Working Party of Women and Family Medicine (WWPWFM) will be having webinars to celebrate this day.

Africa region: at 16:00 UTC on the 8th of March with the theme: “Empower, educate, heal: envisioning a future with equitable health access for all women”. 

The Iberoamericana region will be having their webinar at 10:00 UTC on the 9th of March 2024 with the theme;  “Health research with a gender perspective” or “investigación en salud con perspectiva de género”.

South Asia Region: at 09:30 UTC on the 9th of March 2024 with the theme: “Do we maintain a work-life balance: as practising family physicians?”.

I hope the rest of the regions will also do some activity on this day.

Let the WONCA Working Party of Women and Family Medicine be an example of women that will create equality, innovation, and transparency through their actions and efforts. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all female family doctors across the world for their contribution and dedication towards their practice, teaching, mentoring, and research to improve the life of the people.

Join the WP of Women and Family Medicine.

WWPWFM Chair: Dr Elizabeth Reji
6 March 2024