Report submitted by: Dr. Elizabeth Lichtensteon, Vice President Northern European Region MWIA

Report from the Northern European Regional Virtual Meeting on Nov 13, 2021

A Joint report from Swedish and Finnish Medical Women Associations

87 people from all over the world signed up to participate the Northern European Regional meeting on 13th of November 2021. We spent the day listening to both inspiring and knowledgeable lecturers which all highlighted the problems of how environment affects us as women in particular and what we can do about it. Here are some excerpts from our meeting inspiration.

Paula Pihlaja, Finland reminded the participants that the original purpose to hold this meeting was in May 2020 on a boat cruise from Helsinki to Stockholm and back; in addition, some program in Stockholm was planned. Due to the Covid pandemic, we had to postpone the meeting. Finally, we succeeded, although virtually, and to a lesser extent than originally planned. One good thing about this pandemic is that we have been forced to improve our digital skills and now it is also possible to hold meetings without a physical presence. I was pleased to see that there were female doctors from more than 10 countries and five continents who signed up for this event.

Eleanor Nwadinobi, MWIA president welcomed everybody to the meeting. When we cannot meet in real life, it is good to meet virtually and support each other. She also reflected on Karolina Widerström, Sweden´s first female doctor who also founded the Swedish Medical Women´s Association. The early members of the Association in their turn were among the founders of MWIA in 1919.

Padmini Murphy, Secretary General of MWIA sent a video greeting to the conference and stressed the importance of environment in our life.

Elizabeth Lorraine-Lichtenstein, VP MWIA Northern Europe defined the word environment and how environmental effects on women have many times stopped women from fulfilling their dreams and lives. We have never had such an encouraging or allowing environment as now. Yet – women today are not welcome everywhere and still subject to violence, harassment, persecution and not treated accordingly for their illnesses and ailments. Women today are judged after different standards, are not held in the same esteem as men, are not believed and are often not even allowed to decide over their own body.

Dr. Jill Taube and Dr. Maria Zetterlund, Sweden: Who takes care of the doctor?

How can we support each other in a system built during a time when a majority of doctors were men:  Our answer- contribution is  ”We can do everything from mindfulness to political work!