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 welcome 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
for female medical students in 2019
For a chance to win a trip to the RACS Annual Scientific
Congress in Thailand in May 2019, female medical students in
Australia and New Zealand can enter the inaugural Women in Surgery
essay competition. The essay topic is:
Are surgery and social media incompatible?
(1000 word limit)
Essays will be accepted until Friday, 25th January 2019. Email
essays to the WIS
secretariat, providing your full name, address, phone number,
preferred email address and details of your medical school.
Australian applicants are to submit their AHPRA
registration details with their application. A successful
New Zealand applicant will be required to submit
evidence of enrolment in a medical degree within a week of being
notified of winning the competition. This may take the form of a
confirmation letter from the Dean of the university they are
The winner will be notified before the end of February 2019.
- 1 x Return economy airfare to Bangkok from the winner's home
- Up to 5 nights accommodation in Bangkok, including breakfasts.
It is envisaged the winner will fly into Bangkok either Sunday, 5th
May or Monday 6 May and depart Friday, 10 May 2019
- Return airport transfers in Bangkok
- ASC registration
- WIS Breakfast session registration
- 1 x ticket to the Younger Fellows & Trainees dinner
- 1 x ticket to the Congress dinner
Note: Prize does not include airport
transfers in Australia or New Zealand; passport, visa or other
travel documentation costs, travel insurance or meals other than
those stated above. These are at the winner's own expense.
Current (2018) Australian and New Zealand medical
students (including final year medical students in 2018) are
eligible to apply.
Further enquiries to the WIS secretariat or phone +61 9249 1259.
Membership to the Women in Surgery Section is
'opt-in' and open to Fellows,
Trainees, IMGs, junior doctores and medical students.
All members have access to the WIS Sections 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 welcomed 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 1212
Fax: +61 3 9276 7432