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Plenary Session #1

Realising the top demands of midwives – a pathway towards better pay, and a happier, healthier midwifery workforce

Monday, 12 June 2023 | 09:00 – 10:30
Lecture room: Nusa Dua 5

In 2022, the White Ribbon Alliance, together with the International Confederation of Midwives, published Midwives’ Voices, Midwives’ Demands – a report detailing the top demands of over 56,000 midwives from 101 countries. In response to the question, “What do you want most in your role as a midwife?”, midwives overwhelming indicated being paid a living wage, with benefits as their top demand. This is unsurprising given that midwives globally remain at the bottom of the pay equity ladder, even as they quite literally shoulder the costs of supporting women and families—from delivering babies to treating survivors of gender-based violence—in places where there would otherwise be no services.

This conversation will spotlight the work of midwives and other activists who have fought for and won the right to better pay and working conditions for their profession. It will feature a diverse range of experts from various professions and social and economic contexts sharing first-hand accounts of their successful lobbying efforts to increase compensation and improve working conditions for midwives, women and other marginalised groups. Delegates will leave this discussion with guidance and models for their own pay-equity work.

Plenary Session #2

The last healthcare professionals standing – an exploration of the role of midwives in humanitarian and fragile settings

Tuesday, 13 June 2023 | 09:00 – 10:30
Lecture room: Nusa Dua 5

From Russia’s war in Ukraine to brutal setback for women’s rights in Afghanistan to disastrous flooding in Pakistan, the past year has included some of the worst political conflicts and environmental disasters in recent history. Through all of it, midwives are on the frontlines, often working outside of their usual scope of practice, without compensation and with limited medical supplies and resources to support women community members. We know that humanitarian emergencies like these seriously impact the health systems of an affected country, especially in the area of maternal, newborn and child health services. We also know that climate change and a rise in political instability mean midwives everywhere can anticipate and increase in their involvement in these events. So, how do we equip our global community to navigate and lead in times of crisis?

This plenary session will explore the role of midwives and midwives’ associations in humanitarian emergencies. Delegates will hear from midwives and disaster response experts with first-hand accounts of delivering sexual and reproductive health services amidst war and natural disaster. Through this session, we will explore the tools, resources and training midwives require for this grueling, unpredictable work, and the underlying need for more resilient health systems with midwives’ voices and leadership at the centre. While this conversation will touch on the tragic impact of war and climate change, its aim is to leave Delegates feeling empowered regarding their role and potential as activists and community leaders.

Plenary Session #3

The next 100 years of ICM and midwifery – strategies for ensuring greater support, inclusivity and representation for our global community of midwives

Wednesday, 14 June 2023 | 09:00 – 10:30
Lecture room: Nusa Dua 5

The midwife-led model of care – one that is premised on upholding the values and defending the needs of women and each individual seeking care from a midwife – is and will always be a fundamental component of our health systems. As we know from an overwhelming body of evidence, it’s the care model that produces the best health outcomes for birthing parents and newborns, and it’s critical we continue to promote and defend this model even as governments and their leaders refuse to action the evidence and invest in midwives. ICM recognises its role in providing midwives and their associations with the tools to advocate for midwifery and establishing and supporting a midwifery workforce to deliver appropriate services to all. This effort of midwives – and ICM as the global body representing midwives’ associations – to learn and grow is critical to the longevity of the profession.

As ICM enters its next we’re asking the question: what is the role of ICM in advancing midwifery and how can we support midwives to deliver the best-possible care to women and all community members, respecting their race, sexual orientation, religion, other social identities and individual needs? Amongst ever-evolving social and political landscapes, the global leaders featured on this panel will explore strategies for ensuring the next generation of midwives reflects our increasingly diverse communities, as well as practices midwives can adopt to ensure they’re providing inclusive care. Ultimately, the goal of this session is to provide Delegates with an understanding of their integral role in building a resilient, inclusive ICM and midwifery workforce, while continuing to uphold and promote the midwife-led model of care.