In the November issue of BJM, we discuss the topic of feminism. Often poorly defined and much debated, it invites opinion from all sectors, including midwifery. While many midwives may not identify as such, caring for women is a key part of feminism, and so this study sought to understand midwifery students’ views on the issue. Elsewhere, we look at the undervalued care collaboration between operating department practitioners and midwives, and the role of fetal movement counting to prevent stillbirth. In the comment section, we hear accounts of perinatal OCD and a reflection on kindness.
What the editor says
At its annual conference last month, the Royal College of Midwives released its report on domestic abuse—after findings in 2016 showed that midwives, maternity support workers, nurses and healthcare assistants were three times more likely to experience domestic abuse than the average UK citizen. The report collected statements from RCM members, Heads of Midwifery and Directors of Midwifery, and concluded with four recommendations to NHS Trusts/Health Boards.
While there were examples of good support being provided to survivors, many comments suggested that a lack of understanding about the realities of domestic abuse left them feeling judged or branded ‘unprofessional’ due to lateness or absences. While the recommendations made by the RCM were perfectly fine suggestions of policies that could be adapted to better support those experiencing domestic abuse, it nevertheless could have claimed a greater role of its own. As the majority of domestic abuse survivors are women, and the majority of the midwifery workforce are women, isn’t it time for the RCM to acknowledge that it is in an ideal position to develop interventions—however small—that could lead to bigger societal change?
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