Women in Surgery Overview
The College is
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
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 dveloped 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
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 - Assoc Prof Kate
Drummond FRACS (Vic)
Deputy Chair - Dr Tanya Yuen
Assoc Prof Deb Colville
Dr Kesley Pedler FRACS
Dr Simone Smith (NSW)
Dr Teresa Withers FRACS
Dr Jennifer Green FRACS (Co-opted meber - ACT
Dr Pecky De Silva FRACS
(Co-opted member - 2018 ASC Convener)
Dr Jane Strang FRACS
(Co-opted member - 2019 ASC Convener)
Dr Amy Touzell FRACS (Co-opted member - 2020 ASC Convener)
Dr Rachel Care (RACSTA
Ms Victoria Cook (AMSA
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