The German Medical Women’s Association has established its own special interest group “MWIA”, a webinar series on health and climate, and a biennial Scientific Prize on selected topics. A national survey has revealed excessive restrictions for pregnant colleagues. Young members are interested in the newly activated yMWIA.
With great joy, the German association (DÄB) can report the foundation of our association`s newest group, the “Interessengruppe MWIA” (special interest group MWIA). We were very pleased to welcome the MWIA President in Frankfurt in December 2022. Following this visit, some members formed the DÄB´s “Interessengruppe MWIA”, a plan which had been in the making since our last general meeting in autumn 2022. Sometimes, it takes a spark! The Special Interest Group MWIA within the German association currently has about 20 active members, many of whom are also active in MWIA committees and MWIA special interest groups. We hope this group will facilitate rapid communication between MWIA-interested members in Germany and strengthen our connection between the MWIA and the German Association.
Besides these international endeavours, we are working on various topics. Two of them are presented in this update – our committee on health and climate, and our actions on working conditions for pregnant doctors. In 2021, two of our members founded our committee on health and climate. They regularly post articles in our journal and run a webinar on all related topics, aiming to inform members about the topic and giving a space for the exchange of concrete tips and best practice. The webinar series is in German and is open to the public. Anyone interested is invited to join us. Further information can be found on https://www.aerztinnenbund.de/Webinar-Serie_Klima_und_Gesundheit.3803.0.2.html
We are also heavily engaged with the working conditions for female doctors during pregnancy. This topic has occupied us for several years now. While theoretically the protection of pregnant doctors is something we are very grateful for, it is often interpreted too strictly. In 2018, the Maternity Protection Act was amended, and since then it has led to fundamental restrictions for female physicians, especially surgeons. In a nationwide survey in 2020 and 2021 (before COVID regulations) we found that 44% of female medical physicians and 33% of female students felt their careers were hindered. Shockingly, up to 43% female medical doctors and 53% female medical students were reluctant to announce their pregnancy, leading to a later disclosure than advisable. Unfortunately, our activities to change the situation have not been successful so far. We have just published the results of the survey: Female physician and pregnancy- effect of the amended German maternity protection act on female doctors’ careers. https://doi.org/10.1515/iss-2022-0024
The German Medical Women´s Association biennially awards a prize for scientific work in the area of gender aspects in medicine, in medical education or in climate-related topics. The winner is awarded 4000 Euros. Submissions can be sent in German or English. The next round will open soon. Further information will follow soon: https://www.aerztinnenbund.de/Wissenschaftspreis
To end on a positive note: some of our young members have already reported interest in the newly active yMWIA. We will announce that activity again in our newsletter and hope the young members will enjoy the international exchange. Many thanks and congratulations for this initiative!