Australian, New Zealand and Canadian medical colleges unite in support of gender equality

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The Tri-Nations Alliance, comprising of five medical colleges, spanning Australia, New Zealand and Canada, are gathering in Auckland today at the International Medical Symposium (IMS) to jointly sign the United Nations Women's Empowerment Principles Statement.

The UN Women's Empowerment Principles aim to empower women in the workforce and community, emphasising the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and women's empowerment.

Associate Professor and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) President, Mark Lane said the "joint signing of the statement in Auckland today highlights the steadfast commitment of the Tri-Nations Alliance to empowering women within the medical community and the broader community."

"At the RACP congress last year, Professor Helena Teede facilitated a session on the ways in which the medical profession can enable, support and promote women into senior leadership roles.

"Evidence shows that a number of barriers exist for women wishing to progress their career within the medical profession, and in general women are less confident and often downplay their capabilities.

"As medical leaders, we all have a role to play in mentoring and engaging with our female colleagues to recognise their potential and encourage them to apply for senior leadership roles.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) President John Batten said "RACS has developed a Diversity and Inclusion Plan and policy framework to build an inclusive culture in the surgical profession. This plan applies across all our operations. We recognise that a greater focus on developing a culture of inclusion within the surgical profession will lead to better patient outcomes as greater cultural competence is achieved. Health practice with cultural safety and competence."

Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) President Dr Rodney Mitchell said "ANZCA was committed to leading the signing of the UN statement as a key plank of the college's recently launched Gender Equity position statement, action plan and fellows and trainee resource tool kit.

"The college strongly endorses gender equity because of its ethical, social, and economic benefits to our fellows, trainees, specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs), and the broader community," Dr Mitchell said.

The President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP), Dr Kym Jenkins, said on "behalf of the RANZCP, and personally, I am proud to be signing the UN Women's Empowerment Principles Statement making public our College's commitment to gender equality not only in the psychiatric profession but within the communities we serve."

"Women are underrepresented in positions of leadership and one of the highlights of our Congress last year was the "Women in leadership" symposium where we celebrated the careers of some of our inspirational women leaders, demonstrated their variety of styles of leadership and provided role models for those earlier in their careers."

President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Ian Bowmer, said "At this tragic time in New Zealand, which focusses all of us on the need to promote diversity and equality it is an honour to join with our New Zealand and Australian colleagues and sign on to the women's empowerment principles."

UN Women's Empowerment Principles:

1. Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality

2. Treat all women and men fairly at work - respect and support human rights and non-discrimination

3. Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers

4. Promote education, training and professional development for women

5. Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women

6. Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy

7. Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality

The Tri-Nations Alliance comprises of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.