WFDD2023: Message from the Working Party for Women and Family Medicine

Our WP focuses on the health of women and their particular spectrum of risks and needs; and also on how to maximise the important contribution of women family doctors worldwide. What this means for all of us as family doctors is – for patients, to recognise and design our services to ensure that women can access preventive screening and fertility related services, including maternal and child health, as well as other services, without cultural or financial barriers.

We also need to highlight that, in many places, understanding the biopsychosocial needs of our female patients will often include recognising their role in caring for others. Caring for dependants or for sick friends and family often adds additional practical and emotional challenges for those who shoulder this burden; and, while social change may mean that this ‘work’ does not fall solely to women, this remains the cultural norm across most of the world.

And for colleagues – our work as family doctors is very demanding, and we all need collegial support. Our WP has seen two common stressors that can impact us all, but are often cited by female colleagues: one, as above, is that they are more likely to be juggling the complexities of caring for their partners and families as well as sustaining their professional activities. And the other is that they may still face career barriers solely because of their gender – lower incomes, less flexible work conditions, and fewer career opportunities. So on WFDD 2023, we ask us all to have a learning conversation with your colleagues about

1) How well you think your clinic is doing in meeting its female patients’ particular health needs? - and take any agreed priorities forward to enhance your care even further
2) How you are all managing the interface of work with your own personal lives? Please encourage people in a safe confidential way to raise any issues that might help them to reduce stress because of difficulties balancing home and work.

Thanks again to you all – and please keep in touch with the WWPWFM activities – we want to help!