The Liam and Frankie Davison Award for excellence in literary writing on an issue in women’s health was offered by the College for the fourth consecutive year in 2017, and once again attracted an impressive selection of applications from students across Australia and New Zealand.
Applications closed on 30 April 2017 and 20 eligible submissions were received on topics including endometriosis, body image concerns, postpartum depression, abortion, gender inequality and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
The award was judged by an Award Committee comprising RANZCOG Fellows from Australia and New Zealand as well as the College’s CEO and Director of Practice and Advocacy. The judges were most impressed by the topics selected and the quality of the entries, with the top scores being higher than in any of the previous years.
Coming in at the top of this competitive field with their exceptional submissions were Gaia Bahaar of Melbourne Girls’ Grammar School, Victoria, with her submission, ‘Gag Trumps Women’s Rights’, and Angus McGregor of St Kevin’s College, Victoria, for his submission, ‘Early exposure to the internet has influenced my generation’s view of “normal” women’.
The recipients were each presented with their awards and $1000 prize money in front of the RANZCOG Board and Committee members at a presentation held at College House in Melbourne during this year’s Council Week in July.
Gaia entered the award because of her passion for writing and chose to write about the Mexico City policy because she says, ‘I was already really interested in the circumstances surrounding abortion and the government’s stance on it, so thought it would be great to be able to look deeper into that by way of the award.’ Angus’ interest stemmed from a personal connection as his mother is a midwife and he intends to pursue a career in medicine himself.
The award provides a valuable learning experience for students and allows them to explore, in-depth, an issue related to women’s health that they are interested in. Recipient Gaia Bahaar says, ‘I had a few preconceived opinions about my topic before researching so it was incredibly enlightening to see the evidence against the gag rule and strengthen my own view, but also, considering the sensitivity of the topic, often shocking to see what is really going on in some areas due to the Mexico City policy. The award was an amazing way to look beyond the surface of a subject that I am very interested in and I think it is important when you do undertake research like this, that it is on a topic that can surprise you and that you can really learn from.’
The recipients were both deeply grateful to the College for their awards, with Angus McGregor saying, ‘It was a great honour to receive this award and acknowledgment of my interest in this area from an organisation that has an impact on every woman and family in Australia and New Zealand.’
The winning submissions are available to download from the RANZCOG Women’s Health Foundation section of the College website.
Applications for next year’s award will open on 31 January and close on 30 April 2018.
About the award
Open to students in their final three years of secondary school in Australia and New Zealand, the award was introduced in 2014 to increase awareness within the education sector below tertiary level of the role and work of RANZCOG. The name was changed from the RANZCOG Senior Secondary Students Women’s Health Award to the Liam and Frankie Davison Award following the tragic loss of Liam Davison and his wife, Frankie, in the MH17 disaster. Liam Davison was a valued member of staff at RANZCOG, responsible for eLearning, and Frankie a teacher at Toorak College for many years. The award was named in recognition of Liam and Frankie’s shared passion for nurturing and encouraging young writers, teaching and good literature, and in the hope that this will be a meaningful legacy for Liam and Frankie. The award is intended to be of relevance not only to students intending to study medicine at tertiary level, but also those with an interest in a variety of subject areas from science and health, to law and politics. The award is administered by the RANZCOG Women’s Health Foundation Coordinator and further information is available on the website or by contacting Delwyn Lawson on +61 3 9412 2993 or [email protected].