Women in Surgery Overview
committed to expanding the number of women in surgical training and
to ensuring the training programs do not disadvantage them. The
development of the Women in Surgery Section and mentoring programs
for Trainees reflect that commitment.
The challenge of attracting women to surgical careers is not
unique in Australia or New Zealand, but,
since half the medical graduates are now female, there is a need to
attract the best graduates to surgery, and the College is actively
pursuing that goal.
The Women in Surgery Section was established to encourage and
support all Trainees, but females in particular.
The Section is a source of advice and guidance for Council in relation to
gender and Trainee issues.
While recognising gender issues in training and the surgical
workforce, the committee also aims to develop guidelines and
policies to combat the numerous issues faced by all individuals in
the surgical field.
The Section seeks to remove any barriers Trainees or
medical graduates face and are involved with the development of a
mentoring program within the College to assist medical students,
Trainees and young surgeons.
The Committee has developed the Women
in Surgery Business Plan 2017-2021 (PDF 1.4 MB). The
plan outlines the section's objectives, backed by tangible
indicators, to promote Leadership, Role Modelling, Flexible
Training and Advocacy.
The Committee has assisted in the development of some of
the College's key policies and related documents. It has been
fundamental in establishing guidelines on issues such as
Discrimination and Harassment, and Safe Working Hours, and
plans to continue this work with a mentoring scheme.
Scientific and education programs, including the Women in
Surgery Breakfast, are run at the Annual Scientific Congress
The Section released a discussion paper regarding Flexible Surgical Training. The Section is
also represented on College working parties regarding mentoring and
flexible training formed to make recommendations to Council in
Link to January 2013
Surgical News article Flexible Surgical Training - Let's expand the
opportunities (PDF 16MB).
Medical student/Women in Medicine events
The Women in Surgery Section welcomes enquiries from medical
student organisations and societies about events they may be
organising. The Section is keen to work with these organisations
and can provide some assistance such as providing speakers, panel
members and presenters. Email the contact below for further
International Women's Day 2019
Balance drives a better working world. Let's all help create
International Women's Day (March 8) is a global
day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political
achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for
accelerating gender parity.
Recognising and celebrating the
valuable contribution that women make to today's work
force, RACS will be
celebrating International Women's Day in the following
Victoria - Thursday 7 March
A Cocktail Evening will be held at
RACS, Melbourne in the courtyard (or Lecture Room 1 pending weather
conditions). Local Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Alison Taylor will speak,
along with RACS CEO Mary Harney who will introduce the event.
RSVP to secure your complimentary registration by Wednesday 27
This event is proudly supported by Macquarie
- Wednesday 6 March 6:30pm - 8:30pm
A Cocktail Evening will be
held externally at The Mark, COMO The Treasury, 1 Cathedral Ave,
Perth. A number of West Australian female surgical specialists,
along with UWA Women in Surgery representatives will speak.
RSVP to secure your
complimentary registration by Wednesday 27 February.
This event is proudly supported by Avant Mutual
Contact: Maria Rechichi
- Friday 8 March 2019 6pm-8pm
A Cocktail Evening to
be held externally at Stone's Throw, 127 The Parade, Norwood.
Register your attendance by Wednesday 27 February.
Planning has commenced on having
events in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, possibly Cairns
later this year. Most likely on Friday 16 August 2019. This date is
significant as it is near to Lillian Cooper's birth and date of
death. Lillian Cooper was Qld's first registered female medical
practitioner and a founding member of the Royal Australian College
of Surgeons in 1928. More event details will be available
Contact details: David
ACT - Friday
8 March 7am - 8:30am
A Networking Breakfast
with the theme 'Equity & Diversity in
Training' will be held externally at the EQ Café, 70
Kent Street, Deakin.
Senior Australian of the Year, Sue Packer will speak.
to secure your complimentary registration by Monday 4
Contact: Margaret Gracie
Tasmania - Wednesday 6 March 7am
A Networking Breakfast to be held
in Univeristy of Tasmania Medical School NICS Scholars Lounge, 41
Frankland Street, Launceston. Three prominent female medical
specialists including Kim Rooney, Katie Flanagan and Dr Nishanthi
Gurusinghe will speak.
This event is proudly supported by Avant Mutual
Contact: Di Cornish
New South Wales - Friday 8 March
A Networking Evening will be held at the RACS NSW
Office, Suite 1, Level 26, 201 Kent Street, Sydney.
Ms Louise McCann, National Head of Healthcare for Westpac will
Register to secure a place
(Medical students to contact Joan
Contact: Pecky De Silva (WiS)
New Zealand - Friday 8 March 2019
A Networking Breakfast will be held at the RACS NZ
Office, Level 3, 8 Kent Terrace,
Mount Victoria, Wellington. Otolaryngology Head &
Neck Surgeon and Chair of the NZ National Board Dr Nicola Hill
RSVP to secure your complimentary registration by Friday 1
Contact: NZ Office or Justine
Membership to the Women in Surgery Section is
'opt-in' and open to Fellows,
Trainees, IMGs, junior doctors and medical students.
All members have access to the WIS Section's Strategic Plan,
papers for the Section's annual meeting at the ASC and various
other resources via the College portal. If you are interested in
becoming a member, please forward your details to the Secretariat.
Fellows, Trainees and IMGs are welcome to discuss issues with an
Executive Committee member via email.
Sections Terms of Reference
Committee Chair - Dr Christine Lai
Deputy Chair - Associate Professor Kate Drummond FRACS (VIC)
Deputy Chair - Dr Tanya Yuen FRACS (VIC)
Associate Professor Deb Colville FRACS (VIC)
Dr Kesley Pedler FRACS (NSW)
Dr Simone Smith (NSW)
Dr Teresa Withers FRACS (QLD)
Dr Jennifer Green FRACS (Co-opted member - ACT
Dr Jodie-Kate Williams FRACS (Co-opted member - joint NT
Dr Stephanie Weidlich FRACS (Co-opted member - joint NT
Dr Pecky De Silva FRACS (Co-opted member - 2018 ASC
Dr Jane Strang FRACS (Co-opted member - 2019 ASC Convener)
Dr Amy Touzell FRACS (Co-opted member - 2020 ASC Convener)
Dr Rachel Care (RACSTA Representative)
Ms Victoria Cook (AMSA Representative)
Papers - A link to all of the RACS Position Papers
Support Program (members only, login required)
Women in Surgery Section Secretariat
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
College of Surgeons' Gardens
250-290 Spring Street
East Melbourne VIC 3002 Australia
Telephone: +61 3 9249 1259
Fax: +61 3 9276 7432