At an initial meeting held on the 7 March 2014, former Deputy Minister Dr Gwen Ramokgopa highlighted the consistency with which women were relegated to the back seat and left out of key decision-making structures. She also pointed out that this phenomenon was not peculiar to South Africa but that women across the world continue to be marginalized, excluded and oppressed in a wide variety of ways.
Although this was not peculiar to the liberation struggle in South Africa, women across the world have traditionally been excluded in many critical aspects of social development and dialogue
There is a historic and patriarchal expectation that women would not be expected to concern themselves with substantive issues in the struggle for emancipation but were expected to provide support to the men who “led “the struggle for liberation of the people of South Africa. Despite this some women became stalwarts of the movement for the struggle for liberation who took on the issues of the day as exemplified by their march against the “pass system.”
Women across many areas of social development and particularly in the economic spheres, have had to “fight “for their voices to be heard and for issues that present particular challenges not only to women but to society in general to be enunciated.
Former Deputy Minister, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa has been repeatedly asked by various international meetings for medical women about South Africa’s participation in such forums. Noting that there was no formal organisation of medical women in South Africa, she has canvassed the views of a number of medical women to determine the level of interest in establishing a forum for medical women.
At the meeting convened on the 7th March 2014, there was strong consensus there exists a need to create a platform to address a wide variety of issues spanning the professional, personal, social and holistic development of medical women. It was felt that establishment of the association raising a range of work place, personal and many other social issues that continue to hamper the ability of women to excel in the work place is long overdue and is critically necessary.
Although many of these issues are not “hidden”, these are often no formal platforms to raise and address these and many participants felt that as individuals it was often difficult to face and surmount some of these challenges but that through a formalised structure, a common voice would be more powerful.