International Women’s day 2019

dr teah mogae international women's day
international women’s day 2019

It was a great honor to present to the beautiful women of Africa Day Australia as a guest speaker on this momentous occasion. I thought I would share my speech below for those who couldn’t make it to share as we celebrate women and the men who allow us to stand tall. Hope you enjoy it. Let me know on the comments please.

My name is Dr Tshegofatso (Teah) Mogae. I am a bit nervous so I hope I will not have verbal diarrhoea and divulge all my secrets. I am a mum, wife, medical practitioner and I own a small business called Losika Writes. I was kindly asked to provide a speech to an awesome bunch of women to celebrate international women’s day and I thought, sure why not. I am a woman, tick so I already tick that box at least. But then I had to decide what to talk about and that was the tricky bit.

Do I talk how being born a female in 2019 still sucks compared to being born a male anywhere in the world? Or about how 1 in 2 women in Australia will experience sexual harassment in their lifetime? Or how despite working hard women earn 85c compared to $1 earnt by men doing the same jobs yet then still do the bulk of unpaid care work at home.

So you can understand how if I was to talk about the #metoo movement or how 10 women and 1 child have died since the beginning of 2019 in Australia alone or how women such as Ms Rahaf Alqanun have to literally run away from their homes and lock themselves in hotel rooms to get tell the world of the plight of women in different parts of the world how sad my talk would be. I think these issues are important discussions to be had and I am sure we can make time for each of them, but I thought I would be uplifting on this special day.

So for that I turned towards the theme for this year which is balance for better. First thing I thought was oh no, they want me to talk about how work life balance and how I am amazing at that. Well, I did say I was juggling motherhood, being a doctor, lecturer, business owner etc so I must admit that work life balance is a mythical creature in my life. On further review though, the theme is about creating a gender balanced world which I think is a great challenge we as women face.

On this, the 108th celebration of international women’s day can we try to spice things up a bit and hopefully try and get equality quicker than the 202 years projected for equality at the current rate. That means, with everything remaining the same, it will only be my great, great, great, great, great, grand daughters who would get to enjoy the fruits of our labour so I thought we could get things rolling a lot sooner. I understand that we have already made great strides as women in the recent centuries, but I am challenging us to try and pick up the pace. It was almost a hundred years ago that women discussed with the men in their lives the importance of equality in terms of casting a vote in the USA. Following that, MEN then voted to allow women to cast their own votes.

So why don’t we follow in their lead to make men be the ones working harder for our equality?

So why don’t we get the men in our lives to recognise when women are not being treated equally and to do something about it?

Why don’t we get the men in our lives to question when they are invited to board meetings or panels that don’t involve any women?

Why don’t we get the men in our lives to call out and have a zero tolerance to sexual harassment of women?

Why don’t we teach our sons that being a man doesn’t involve showing strength by beating up women but rather by building them up?

Why don’t we get the investor men in our lives to question why board members of the companies they invest in don’t have women on board?

Why don’t we get the leading mean in our lives to know that trying to rule a country with political parties, or institutions with only males at the helm is like trying to fly a 747 aeroplane with only 50% engine capacity, a recipe for disaster.

Women account for 50% of the worlds population so I think it is about time some of those men stood up and made room for our fabulousness at the table. All men come from a woman, were cared for by a woman, were nursed and probably taught by a woman to become who they are. So surely, we should ensure they know how fabulous we are.

They shouldn’t just stand up to pull our chairs or to open doors for us, they should question why we are not shoulder to shoulder with them and make room for us at the table.

It all starts with us owning our power and educating the men we birth and raise, the men we grow up with, the men we love and interact with and all men in general to stand up for our equality. So let us get to it ladies, this job needs all of us.

Thanks

Dr Tshegofatso (Teah) Mogae

MBBS, DCH, DRANZCOG, FRACGP

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Why medicine?

 

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Some hectic days at work, especially those filled with patients with mental health illnesses, challenging social situations and complex medical needs, can lead me to question why I do this as a career. I have already discussed other jobs I occasionally fantasize about doing on one of my older blogs ( The ultimate dream job…), but sometimes it’s about recollecting the multiple steps I took to get me where I am today.

So high school finished, and I guess I could say I had done okay. At that point, all I wanted to do was computer science as I felt computers were the future. I had just completed my IGCE examinations which included a project where I computerized my grandfather’s store inventory management and as I submitted my floppy disc for assessment, I thought that my career decision was well and truly settled. Given high school ended in early December and the results were published end of January the following year, I had a restless Christmas break fielding questions from family and friends regularly about what the next step was. To kill time and avoid the interrogation, I spent a lot of my time trying to distract myself from the questions by watching a whole lot of television.

I am a self-confessed television addict and I am happy to watch anything and everything on screen. That summer, I got myself addicted to a show called Forensic detectives on Discovery channel and with every passing day convinced myself that I should become one of the forensic pathologists. I persuaded my mother to organize an interview with a forensic pathologist locally so I could decide whether that was a career to pursue and the nice gentleman just burst my bubble. He could not understand why I would be interested in the field and basically said it was not as exciting as it was made out to be on the show I had been watching. “You are just a glorified police officer” were his exact words as I left his office dismayed.

As university approached, I figured I might as well apply to study medicine and see how I would go during my “pre-medical term”. Unfortunately, the pre-med term was basically all the sciences and mathematics and didn’t provide much in terms of taste of medicine. After 12 months of the course, however, all that changed as we were placed on a 2-week job experience placement at our local hospital where I fell in love with medicine in general. A friend and I decided to extend our placement by a whole month and by the end of it we were being treated as junior doctors. We were suturing stab wounds, managing fractures and assisting in theatre which was all amazing.

I left that placement inspired to do medicine and with that in mind worked hard through medical school and fellowship training to get to where I am today as a family physician. Choosing a speciality in medicine also threatened to cause some stress but as I wanted to be a general doctor who could still do obstetrics and eventually palliative medicine etc on the side, being a family physician was a no-brainer. So, when I hear another sad story about people, their social situations or whatever it might be they attend me to help with, I find myself very privileged to help in whatever tiny way.  I hope to continue practising in this field that continues to ignite my passion regularly. I must admit that “leaving patients at work” is something I will forever grapple with but with time, and hectic days included, I can say I really do love my career.

Dedicated to my UB partner in crime Morapedi 

Friendship…

friendship
This is a controversial topic but one I thought I would entertain for a little while and pen here for everyone to read. I know there are many memes about “friends being for a season or reason” etc and I totally understand that. I also know that sometimes I have been guilty of calling people friends when actually they haven’t been friends in the true sense of the word.
Social media also plays a role in making relationships exist in our heads when they might actually not really exist in reality. I know I am guilty of having people on my Facebook page who I then get to know really well in terms of what they have been up to, whether they are married, have babies, where they go on holidays etc only to actually realise that the last time I actually communicated with said person was in primary school late last century. I have physically met some people on my Facebook and actually not been game to actually say hello to them because I don’t think they would know me and sometimes this can be because someone is a friends’ friend but because you see them so much, you feel like you already “know them” when in reality you two are strangers.
Experts say that you tend to have less than 10 or so true friends in a lifetime and most of the time these friendships are built in the early years of childhood and high-school. This is because this is a time you develop a sense of identity and try and define who you are as well as the people you want to associate with. There is another peak in friendship development when you go to college and identify with people who sync with your personality and then you might then have another friend from work as life goes on. So really by the time you are in your mid-thirties, you have already picked your friends and they are to last a lifetime.
The tricky thing with having to leave the country to attend college and subsequently living far from the mother ship is that the original childhood friendships face a big challenge with trying to remain alive especially if you have been away for too long. Sure, you can keep the emails and skype going but with time things suffer to some extent and then, unfortunately, you can find that you have friends but not really the friendships you had anticipated to have when you were growing up.  You don’t really know your “friends”, or their family and don’t have those deep-rooted ties that you had equated with deep friendship. Also, when you then go to visit the mother land, you come to the realisation that people have grown and moved on with their lives and sometimes there isn’t really space in their life for you as you had thought they had always been.
Most of the time you make do with the situation and move on as well but there are always tough circumstances which bring this issue to the forefront especially when you live overseas without much family support. Simple examples of these include
  • Who to write as next of kin on your children’s childcare or school card who would be happy to come and collect them should you not be able to
  • You find yourself in some financial strife and need someone, not only to lend you money but to understand and to listen to your dilemma as well as offer some unjudgemental advice
  • You have a new baby and you are not coping whether emotionally or otherwise and you need someone to genuinely open up to and ask for help
  • You have a death in the family and want someone who knows the family to lend a hand only to realise none of your “friends” truly know your family enough to lend a hand. (I personally think introductions of who your friends are to your family shouldn’t ideally happen at a funeral)
  • You have a great business idea and you need someone who will be objective and realistic to give you honest feedback which might be “dude, that business idea sucks and maybe you could change it like …”
I guess what I really have been thinking about is trying to be the friend that I would want to have for myself and also trying to really know my friends, their families and hoping that I enrich their lives as I hope they do mine.