National Representative: Geneviève Koolhaas (Netherlands)

Els Borst Oeuvre price

Our most prestigious price, rewarding a woman doctor for life-long achievements, was awarded to Prof Dr Hanneke Takkenberg, an epidemiologist and excellent researcher in the field of cardiovascular medicine, but also an ambitious advocate to help (young) women doctors reach the top of their game. The program of the symposium ‘the route to inclusive medicine’ she organized again showed how a safe working environment, equal chances for all, and customized care fitting the needs of all individual patients, should form our daily practice.

VNVA essay price

We’ve started to reward young talent not only for their scientific talents but also on their girl power and writing skills as women on the job and in personal life. Dr Mala Misra, a colleague born in India, wrote a great essay “Hooray, a girl” on the theme of ‘the right on healthcare askes more attention’.

Sexual harassment

Both our president Lydia Ketting and outstanding member Prof. Dr. Angela Maas have advocating a change to protect women especially during their study and subsequent training on the job. In the last 10 years still over 30% of the women encounter some form of harassment (verbal or physical). Young female doctors who feel vulnerable and dependent of their supervisor struggle to protect their boundaries. The national platform of medical staff promised to take steps to raise awareness and stimulate a change in what should be normal.

Liaisons other organization; Alliance gender and healthcare

Prof of Cardiology Dr Angela Maas, elected representative of the Dutch Women’s Council to the United Nations in 2020 and 2021, has been very active in this Alliance. There have been important publications trough this collaboration with governmental and universities underlining the importance of unequal treatment and customized care for female patients.

Social media

In my role as Chair yMWIA and NC I am very active on social media, mainly Twitter and Facebook. I think social media have the power to reach young women doctors, to inspire and to share knowledge of both medical and also interesting personal achievements. Since I’ve started the @youngmedwia account in October 2019, 1016 tweets have been send and we have a growing platform with about 250 followers. Of course, the survey ‘well-being of women doctors during the Covid pandemic’ was shared.

Challenges young women doctors

Young women doctors of the Netherlands, have been facing a serious delay due the Covid-19 pandemic. During the first wave I’ve spoken to a young ambitious 3th year medicine student Demi Albas-Ekens, with interest for acute medicine. She told me all lessons were canceled, not surprisingly, all internships were delayed. The waiting time to start internships had grown from 6 months up to 1.5 years. Tuition fee however did not pause.  Even though our government compensated companies in all branches for a staggering amount of 80-billion-euro, young people were forgotten.