Gender equity

Gender equity has ethical, social, and economic benefits to our fellows, trainees, specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs), and the broader community.

Recognising the diversity of practice within careers in anaesthesia and pain medicine, our objective is to achieve visible gender equity across the following five broad areas:

  • Training - program entry and completion.
  • Clinical practice - opportunities across public and private healthcare sectors that are safe, rewarding, appropriately remunerated, and offer work-life balance.
  • Research and education - recognition and advancement.
  • Leadership - management and health advocacy.
  • Continuing professional development - participation in high quality program that supports clinical and nonclinical roles

Gender metrics report

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The college is committed to regularly report on gender metrics as outlined in the Gender Equity Action Plan (2023-2025). The 2023 ANZCA gender metrics report is now available and provides an overarching view of the data from 2019 -2023.

View the report here

Gender Equity Position Statement and Action Plan

In March 2019, through the work of the Gender Equity Working Group, we released the Gender Equity Position Statement which states our commitment to advocate for gender equity.

In 2023, we are pleased to release our second task-oriented action plan to be delivered over the coming three years.

The action plan aligns with the five key focus areas identified in the position statement, and the ANZCA Strategic Plan (2023-2025). Regular updates on the progress of the plan will be communicated to our members, and tracked via our Professional Affairs Executive Committee.

Gender Equity Resource Kit

The Gender Equity Resource Kit contains useful tools and strategies that may be used by trainees, specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs) and fellows, to contribute to gender equity within hospitals or workplaces.

The resource kit may provide guidance and support in these vital areas, which are outside the direct remit of the college. It is structured into five key areas of focus:

  • Inclusive and equitable culture.
  • Diverse and representative workforce.
  • Flexible and empowering workplace.
  • Attention to closing gaps.
  • Strategic and accountable leadership.
 

We encourage you to download and share the toolkit, and use the gender equity self-assessment quiz to challenge the gender balance and equity practices in your health services, departments and teams. The results might surprise you!

Gender equity survey toolkit

The Gender Equity Sub-Committee (GESC) has developed a Gender equity survey toolkit - for local institutions to repeat a version of the ANZCA survey.
 
This toolkit contains six documents to assist you in performing a local gender equity survey: 


In 2022, ANZCA performed its inaugural Gender equity survey and asked the question - “Does gender matter in a career in anaesthesia?”.  The results of this survey showed that despite increasing numbers of female anaesthetists, gender inequity remains an issue affecting anaesthetics across Australia and New Zealand.
 
In conducting the 2022 survey only 1200 ANZCA fellows could be invited to participate in the survey due to ANZCA Clinical Trials Network (CTN) guidelines. These participants were randomly selected from the ANZCA database, and the GESC received feedback during the survey period that many people wished they had been selected to take part.
 
The GESC are happy to provide support to anyone wishing to administer this survey, and should you be willing to share the outcome of your local survey, we welcome hearing the good, the bad and the ugly at ge@anzca.edu.au

On completion of the gender equity survey toolkit participants of the ANZCA and FPM CPD program can claim the ‘Practice evaluation–measuring outcomes: Practice audit’ activity.

Unconscious bias toolkit

The Gender Equity Sub-Committee is pleased to issue the first release of the expanded Unconscious Bias Toolkit.
 
The Unconscious Bias Toolkit aims to help doctors address inequity in the workplace and patient care, retaining and building on principles introduced in the previous version: “Unconscious Bias on Interview Panels.”
 
A critical part of this expansion has been discussion of various types of bias which extend beyond gender, contextualised within case studies. 
 
Intended to provide an introduction to common types of bias, this document provides access to an extensive array of recommended resources and publications should you wish to read further about a particular topic.
 
Please note: the full launch of the toolkit will take place once a third study on cultural bias (in development) is finalised later in 2023. 

View the toolkit here

Gender Equity sub-committee membership

The Gender Equity Sub-Committee (GESC), like all college committees advertises and promotes positions on the committee through an expression of interest process.  Applications are sought, welcomed and encouraged from all members of the college.  This process has been followed from the early days as a working group through to the current sub-committee status.  
 
If you are interested in learning more about the work of the GESC, would like to talk though how to be involved in some of our initiatives or are considering joining the sub-committee, please email us at membership@anzca.edu.au 

Frequently asked questions

You may have some questions about what gender equity really means in the context of anaesthesia and pain medicine; how this impacts you as a member; or how you go about creating change in your hospital. Or you may want to know more about what we are doing and how. We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help explain our gender equity work in more detail or alternatively view the video complication of fellows answering these questions here.
 
What is gender equity?
The Gender Equity Sub-committee defines ‘equity’ in terms of its goal of providing everyone with the full range of opportunities and benefits to achieve equity, that is ‘the same finish line’. Equality is the effect of treating everyone fairly without difference; each individual is considered the same without measuring or comparing their attributes to others.
 
What is intersectionality?
Intersectionality is the complex, cumulative manner in which the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect (Merriam Webster dictionary). Intersectionality is the sum of its parts, meaning that the inequality resulting from one area of discrimination is compounded when other areas of discrimination overlap. This results in greater inequity. For example, Indigenous women are grossly under-represented in professional roles in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
 
Is a merit based approach an appropriate way to ensure equity?
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines meritocracy as “a social system, society, or organisation in which people get success or power because of their abilities, not because of their money or social position.” Whilst this approach appears unbiased on first glance, it does not take into account inequities which affect merit – for example, taking time for parental leave increases the time it takes to achieve a designated level of merit. Determination of merit must take into account the inequities to which the individual has been exposed.
 
How does gender equity inform workplace practices in relation to part time and flexible work practices?
Gender equity seeks to develop empowering workplaces for all staff to allow maximum flexibility in workplace roles without causing detriment to career opportunities. Gender equity provides this by encouraging part time rostering, flexible work hours and leave conditions. Gender equity seeks to improve outcomes for all genders by making these conditions available to all staff and particularly by encouraging and supporting its uptake by all.
 
How can I promote gender equity?
The first step toward promotion of gender equity is to recognise the value of diversity within the workplace and encourage discussion and open communication to raise awareness. Being open to viewing your workplace through the lens of diversity is a crucial first step, along with empowering staff to consider diversity within their departments, hospitals and networks. Learn more about how to enact change in our resource toolkit.

Are women supported to return to work while breastfeeding?
ANZCA and FPM fully support the rights and needs of women who return to work while breast-feeding a position that reflects the law 1, 2 and contemporary thinking and research on gender equity and inclusion and diversity, more broadly 3..

Breastfeeding is a physiological process and pumping of breast milk may be essential for the health and wellbeing of breastfeeding women and their infants. The college's expectation is that workplaces will provide support for breastfeeding and pumping, which would reasonably include dedicated space (separate to bathrooms), reasonable break time, and recognition by colleagues that needs vary between women. This also includes the use of wearable breast pumps in theatre, as human breast milk is not recognised as a bodily fluid requiring universal precautions.4  

The provision of safe anaesthesia and pain medicine procedures is paramount, and requires close clinical observation and assessment by a vigilant anaesthetist a standard that assumes their continuous presence 5. Consequently, provisions should be made to schedule pumping breaks at times when they do not have clinical responsibilities for patients, which may involve scheduling appropriate arrangements for breaks and handover.

Workplaces need to ensure adequate provision of resources to facilitate continuous direct clinical monitoring of anaesthetised patients. However, ANZCA recognises that in exceptional circumstances brief absences from the operating theatre are unavoidable. Hospitals and theatre staff should recognise and support clinicians who may face such circumstances. The anaesthesist may leave if they determine it necessary, taking into account all relevant factors such as the risks and benefits to the anaesthetised patient at that particular point in time, the availability (or otherwise) of another specialist, suitably trained and competent nurse or technician to stay with the patient, and their capacity to commit to an appropriately brief absence and to remain close by in order to return immediately, if required.

References and further reading

  1. Australian Government Fair Work Ombudsman, Returning to Work from Parental Leave, Breastfeeding in the Workplace.  Accessed February 2023 
  2. Employment New Zealand, Breastfeeding at Work. Accessed February 2023.
  3. ANZCA, Gender Equity Position Statement. Accessed February 2023.
  4. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Breastfeeding FAQ. Accessed February 2023.  
  5. ANZCA,PS18 Guidelines on Monitoring during Anaesthesia. Accessed February 2023
  6. American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation. Breastfeeding and Lactation for Medical Trainees. Accessed February 2023  

Gender Equity Libguide

Browse our Gender Equity Libguide for an extensive range of journal articles, books, links and other resources on all things gender equity.

Gender balance at conference and events

Women are underrepresented at conferences and meetings. Particularly as invited speakers, panellists, and convenors but also, in some cases, as delegates.

At the 2019 ANZCA Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM), 32 per cent of speakers were female and the 2020 ASM was due to be even more promising with 44 per cent of speakers being female, however the ASM was cancelled due to COVID-19. 

We have been pro-active with this issue by promoting, mentoring and actively advocating for gender balance at conferences and in leadership opportunities. We encourage conference convenors to review their speaker lists with gender balance in mind.

We also provide family/carer-friendly facilities where possible, to support speakers and delegates who are caring for children.

The Panel Pledge

The ANZCA panel pledge is based on an initiative of Male Champions of Change and Chief Executive Women, national groups which work with influential leaders to redefine men’s role in taking action on gender inequality. 

Too many panel appearances and speaking engagements are offered to men, too few to women. This imbalance means that audiences are getting a narrow perspective and the quality and diversity of conversations and experiences are limited. We ask that willing participants take the following pledge. 

I stand for gender diversity at every forum.

When you're invited to speak at or participate in a professional forum:

  • Request confirmation of who the other panellists/speakers/participants are, and how gender balance will be achieved.
  • Request that as a condition of acceptance, you expect women to participate in a meaningful way.
  • Reserve the right to withdraw from the event should this not be the case when the speaker list is finalised.
  • Offer names of women from within your organisation or network and, if helpful, point them to resources for support in finding women.
 



Panel pledgers at the STEMM Breakfast, 2019 Annual Scientific meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

If you'd like to add your name to the growing list below by formally taking the pledge, please email us with you name, college ID, and the pledge “I stand for gender diversity at every forum”.
Dr Anisa Abu Baker
Dr Leinani Aiono-Le Tagaloa
Dr Salam Al-Khoury
Dr Vanessa Beavis
Dr Andrea Binks
Dr Julia Birch
Dr Dane Blackford
Dr Kimberley Browne
Dr Roger Browning
Dr Kerryn Bunbury
Dr Neroli Chadderton
Dr Elaine Chilcott
Dr Charles Chilvers
Dr Alan Ch'ng
Dr Chui Chong
Ms Majella Coco
Dr Simon Collins
Dr Clara Cotaru
Dr Meredith Craigie
Ms Monica Cronin
Dr Lucky De Silva
Dr Edward Debenham
Dr Monica Diczbalis
Dr Bridget Effeney
Dr Nigel Fidgeon
Dr Clare Fisher
Mr Adam Fitzgerald
Ms Laura Foley
Dr Dean Fulford
Ms Kate Galloway
Dr Ian Graham
Dr Genevieve Goulding
Dr Neil Hauser
Mr Maurice Hennessy
Dr Charles (Yan) Ho
Prof Harriet Hopf
Dr Sofia Huddart
Mr John Ilott
Dr James Jarman
Dr Simon Jones
Dr Micheal Jones
Ms Nadja Kaye
Dr Alison Kearsley
Assoc Prof Ross Kerridge
Dr Emma Lansbury
Dr Brian Lee
Dr Ken Lee
Dr Min-Qi Lee
Prof Kate Leslie
Dr Jenny Liddell
Dr Susie Lord
Dr Angus Loraine
Dr Scott Ma
Dr Adele MacMillan
Dr Jack Madden
Dr Stuart Marshall
Dr Timothy Marshall
Assoc Prof Nolan McDonnell
Dr Sean McManus
Dr Rebecca McNamara
Ms Heather Ann Moddie
Dr Bruce Newman
Dr Ann Ngui
Dr Michelle O'Brien
Prof Philip Peyton
Assoc Prof Nicole Phillips
Dr Georgina Prassas
Dr John Prentice
Dr Natalie Purcell
Dr Lindy Roberts
Dr Nigel Robertson
Dr Sancha Robinson
Dr Peter Roessler
Dr David Rowe
Dr Matt Rucklidge
Dr Allanah Scott
Dr Aylin Seven
Dr Prani Shrivastava
Ms Jaspreet Sidhu
Ms Hannah Sinclair
Assoc Prof Marcus Skinner
Ms Teri Snowdon
Prof David Story
Dr Cara Thomson
Dr Savas Totonidis
Dr Christine Vien
Dr Jana Vitesnikova
Dr Radha Vivekananthan
Assoc Prof Leonie Watterson
Ms Gabby White
Dr Chris Wilde
Assoc Prof Deborah Wilson
Dr Maggie Wong
Dr Jennifer Woods
Dr Mark Young
Watterson Ms Gabby White Dr Chris Wilde Assoc Prof Deborah Wilson Dr Maggie Wong Dr Jennifer Woods Dr Mark Young

Annual Workplace Gender Equality Report

In accordance with the ANZCA’s commitment to being an equal opportunity employer and our compliance requirements under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, the college lodges an annual compliance report with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (Agency).

The WGEA report indicates what policies, strategies and work practices the college has in place to ensure our staff are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of their gender.
 
For more information on the Agency and reporting requirements under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, please visit the website

Gender equity research study 2022

The Gender Equity Sub-committee released a third iteration of a seminal gender research survey on 11 May 2022. The survey was open for four weeks and examined the impact of gender on the professional lives of Australian and New Zealand based fellows. 
 
The first iteration of the survey was run by Dr Diana Khursandi on behalf of the Australian Society of Anaesthetists in 1993, and the second by Dr Catherine Ashes and Dr Natalie Smith in 2010.

The recent survey built upon the previous versions to further explore job satisfaction and work composition.  It was sent to approximately 15 per cent of the fellowship, selected at random, and received a response rate of 39 per cent which will provide a meaningful sample to analyse the data.

We thank all who participated, and look forward to being able to share the results of this research at the combined SIG meeting in September.

The researchers behind the three gender equity surveys mentioned spoke to us earlier in the year for International Women’s Day 2022.  Watch the videos here.

Gender Equity Sub-committee

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. The Gender Equity Working Group (GEWG) reports its activities and initiatives to the...

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International Women's Day

View our International Women's Day campaigns from 2024-22

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Last updated 10:05 6.05.2024