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Another IGAD, Another Wonderful Year of Campaigning

Since IGAD 2015, a lot of wonderful highlights have transpired, so here they are in a nutshell.  Scroll down to see the gallery of images from events.

  • Display at NIFNEX Expo. Met Thyda and she is now putting together a vulva art exhibition.  Also met Shoma from Qerac Health Communications and was invited to be the opening speaker at a Medical Seminar.
  • Qerac Healthcare Communications Medical Seminar – Introductory speaker sharing with doctors about how we can all walk the same path to make it easier for doctors and women when consulting.  It appeared to me that there is gap in GPs training in Gynaecological and Sexual Health and related Mental Health issues.  As women we need to make more noise about women’s health, so we can demand a higher level of education for doctors and the community.
  • Associate Professor Graeme Broadley delivered a speech at King Edward Memorial Hospital and suggested that he would encourage other women’s hopsitals to follow the King Edward Memorial’s four year example of celebrating GYN Awareness Day.  He showed great interest in my Gynaecological paper talk and spoke of how he may be able to utilise this for education in the community.
  • Tony and I are meeting with WA Primary Health Alliance to find new ways to promote Gynaecological Health in the community instead of just being behind the closed doors.
  • Soroptomist Albany joined us in celebrating with a Gynaecological Awareness stand in Albany and also donated a copies of my book, Not So Secret Women’s Business to the library.
  • The West Australian Regional Soroptomist International distributed my Paper Talk at their meeting in Perth and they also held a discussion about Gynaecological and Sexual Health awareness in celebration of IGAD.
  • Presented to 800 quilters at two separate meetings. Have received five quilts/wall hangings, which are absolutely fabulous.  I have been given permission to donate these to public venues who will display the quilts and take advantage of the opportunity to spread the word.  If you know of an appropriate place for them to be displayed, please contact me.  The President of the Quilters Association was very excited for her group to be able to contribute to the campaign, to raise the level of conversation around awareness in their own community and to lead the way for other arts/craft related groups to get behind this message.  The quilts are very visual and a vital part of the visual message and I am so grateful for their contribution.
  • Presented at the Women’s Health Centre in Bunbury.  I always find it interesting when I present, as I often find other advocates, who, like myself when I started out 20 years ago, are filled with passion but also with pain.  Sometimes they are filled with the fear of not knowing where to turn to, who to speak to, what to do and how to go about it.  I met such a young woman there who was determined to find a way.  I appeal to all women to keep an eye out for such women, filled with passion and pain.  It is through their compassion because of their pain, they are able to fast track this for other women so they don’t have to go through this, so this message can be heard.  I found a way for her to speak for 5 minutes on her vision and her desire to be heard and it was so rewarding to see her share.
  • Display stand at the Notre Dame University for the Pelvic Pain Seminar, where I sat with pride to watch a past president of GAIN Inc, Catherine Aurabine, who had moved on to greener pastures with her pelvic pain passion.  Also, presenting was Vanessa Watson, another past member of GAIN Inc, who had joined forces with Catherine and they now work together to improve the lives of women with pelvic pain.  I stood loud and proud.  I was totally amazed at the suffering that was shared by doctors and the women.  But I knew that for something to change, we need to come together and make a noise.  We can go from seminar to seminar, but it will be a long process if we don’t come together.  That is my wish for International Gynaecological Awareness Day.  To use the advantage of joined forces for our combined voice to be heard.
  • I am pleased to say I am going to Melbourne in November for a meeting with a large corporation to discuss with their team about how I can use my voice with their company to progress further with women in business and Gynaecological awareness.  Given the time between now and November I am planning to encourage other women leaders who can see the light in your work as to how it can empower women in their workforce.
  • I have a great opportunity to connect with the Country Women’s Association  in Melbourne to encourage their members to place the 10 September 2017 IGAD on their agenda and to encourage their country women to join the Undies Quilting campaign and to keep the conversation going.
  • I am presenting in Nungarin this week.  Whilst passing through Dowerin we will be delivering as requested 60 pairs of packs of undies.  This shows word is getting around.
  • I have been liasing with a  Brisbane Doctor who wants to order some Paper Talks.  Image of the Paper Talks is below.  I admire his passion, as he is dealing with these women who are suffering in silence and he wants to make a difference.  He is a Reproductive Medicine and Women’s Health Specialist.  I just love his openness  and how he is willing to embrace the community voice in his work.  I plan to go to Brisbane some time next year and I hope to encourage him to partner with me to conduct a forum – with him as the Medical Professional and me as the Community Advocate.
  • I am pleased to say I had a stand at the Health Ed Seminar where pharmaceutical companies had their displays.  My display was quite unique, with quilts and undies, much to the confusion of some.  Many doctors came up to find out what it was all about.  Whilst there I listened to the amazing Dr Rosie King, Sexologist.  I met Rosie when I presented at the World Sexual Health Conference in 2007, where she discussed back then the stigma around the vulva.  Again, at this seminar she still spoke about the stigma and showed graphic pictures of what can happen to the vulva if we don’t take care of it and understand it.  What I wouldn’t have done to have stood next to Rosie on the stage, her as the medical professional and me as the voice of the women with vulval conditions, to create a powerful impact.  Listening to these professionals speaking, I felt inspired to go harder because I realise there is much to be done for the education and awareness of women in the community.
  • Presented to the Albert Schweizer Fellowship in Houston, Texas.  I first met Dr Gabrielle Morrissey when she invited me to speak at the Forensic Sexology at Curtin University.  I was scared out of my wits, but Gabrielle believed in me back then and still believes in me now.  Hence, while I was visiting my daughter in Dallas, at Christmas, Gabrielle invited me to speak at the Albert Schweizer Fellowship where she is the Director.  I love working with people like her who are open, honest, truth speaking and open to you when you are a consumer.  I know where she gets this from.  One just has to take a look at her famous mother, who is a famous writer.
  • Whilst in Dallas I presented to the Zonta Dallas and was invited to present to young women living away from their families.
  • I presented to girls at a private school in London where I shared the Undies for Better Understanding Workshop.  The teacher told me that the students concentrated on subjects not related to health, so these 16-18 year old girls were pretty much in the dark about their Gynaecological and Sexual Health.  What a sad situation and a great opportunity.  This made me wonder why women’s organisations are not speaking up about this lack of education.
  • Interviewed by Cornwall Radio for an hour.  I was interviewed my a male radio presenter, who totally agreed with everything I said.  i.e. the lack of education around this topic.
  • Congratulations to King Edward Hospital celebrated their hundredth year and were featured in the West Australian newspaper. This included information about the International GYN Awareness Day and showed photos of the nurses holding undies.
  • I supported Jean Hailes Women’s Health Week  when the Director, Janet Mickelfore, her daughter and son, came to Perth to distribute pink elephants and information in the Murray Street Mall in Perth.  Celebrated with Jean Hailes their recent receipt of $8 Million to research women’s health.
  • I also had a display at the Chem Mart Morley Chemist and  at Chappels Tea House in Maylands in celebration of IGAD.
  • On IGAD we celebrated with an Afternoon Tea event at the International on the Water Hotel.
  • IGAD will also be celebrated this Wednesday CWA Nungarin where I will be presenting and I have seven women parading with the GYN body bits and chanting the GYNAE MIGHT song.  The CWA Nungarin contacted me today and she was in the process of making the love heart undies biscuits that will be decorated as part of the celebration on Wednesday, where the women will decorate the undies biscuits.
  • I will be presenting at the Cancer Support Association on 21 September and at the Endometriosis Support Group on 2nd October, 2016.  These are golden opportunities and also show that the community is developing interest in the topic.

And the year is not over yet!