Parents in medical training need more support 

11 Mar 2021

The medical profession has made considerable advances in promoting the careers of women doctors, but more must be done, especially in supporting parents and carers, the AMA said on International Women's Day.

Releasing the AMA Position Statement on Medical Parents and Prevocational and Vocational Training, Dr Helen McArdle paid tribute to the profession for its approach towards achieving fairness and gender equality.  

But Dr McArdle, the Chair of the AMA Equity Inclusion and Diversity Committee, said there was still a lot to do to support women to continue with their careers on the same trajectory as men, especially after giving birth.  

“Within the medical profession, there remains an entrenched culture that women will assume child-rearing responsibilities,” Dr McArdle said.  

“As a profession, we need to ensure women have safe and encouraging workplaces and rewarding careers as doctors by supporting parental leave, among a suite of other measures.”  

AMA NSW President, Dr Danielle McMullen, said that committing to providing equal and reasonable paid parental and carer’s leave entitlements for each parent is one small step governments can take to support women to return to the workforce.  

“In NSW, the AMA and the State Government have formed a gender equity working group to look at how to provide public health sector employees with equal access to paid parental leave,” Dr McMullen said.  

“Periods of pregnancy and parenthood are a common source of gender-based bias and discrimination, and policies to support parental leave at an employer and College level are highly variable.”  

The Position Statement provides guidance on strategies to support parenting, alongside medical training to promote gender equity in all aspects of medicine.  

You can read the Position Statement here.