WONCA President Anna Stavdal's reflection on International Women's Day

In past years on March 8th, we’ve raised the megaphone to increase awareness of the unfinished business of gender equality. Today, let us use it to highlight the all too often unnoticed, un-hailed, ongoing, daily life bravery of those of carrying on with what used to be called ‘women’s work’. Somebody has to do it, and it never ends. 
At this moment, even as some are fleeing, for hours and days, toward uncertain safety, women are caring for the families of soldiering men. All the while, as they are managing their own fear, and missing their husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, they are doing the feeding, washing, clothing, warming, comforting, nurturing, as best they can. During peacetime, many good, strong men join in doing that. But throughout history, at peace and at war, women have always managed it. Somehow. This is not a romanticization – it has simply been the case. Yet, there is no Nobel Prize in Caregiving.
Many places have come far in equalizing women’s opportunities to join in the shaping of society. More and more women are politicians, judges, doctors, peace-keepers, leaders of organizations, and of countries. Still, the division of labor during this crisis of conflict continues as before: As (primarily) men are bearing arms, it is mostly the women who are carrying their children and taking care of their parents, bearing the struggle for the basic physical and emotional survival of their families. 

We at WONCA search for concrete ways to support these women, first and foremost, by demanding that the violent conflict cease. Meanwhile, we engage in the provision of genuine refuge. Because we family doctors, and all health care workers, are woven into our communities, we clearly recognize and appreciate what women do to sustain life. It is part of what someone once called ‘Herstory’. 

Let`s celebrate March 8th!

Dr Anna Stavdal
WONCA President