The biggest ever conference focused on diversity and inspiring women in maxillofacial surgery
03 July 2019 (Last updated: 4 May 2020 13:16)
Opening the 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (BAOMS) with the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) President Sat Parmar said there were more people “registered to attend this ASM than ever before."
He said he wanted his Presidency to change the way we learn: “I am ensuring that papers from our journal (British" Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery – BJOMS) are made available to our membership via Whatsapp and our website.
He went on to say that “diversity and inclusion in OMFS illustrate the diversity of our specialty and what makes us unique."
Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai
He welcomed to the stage the youngest ever Nobel Laureate for education and human rights Malala Yousafzai to give the Norman Rowe Lecture. He added that when he was treating her at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, while she recovered from the Taliban attack, she called him “Mr Fingers Crossed”!
Malala Yousafzai talked about the Swat Valley where she had lived in Pakistan as changing “from being a place of tourism to a place of terrorism”.
In a question and answer session with BAOMS President Sat Parmar and Consultant OMFS Surgeon Daljit Dhariwal, she explained “a life without an education, I would never be able to fulfil myself – only known as someone’s sister or wife. That’s why I decided to speak out. I could have stayed silent but it would have had worse consequences", she said, adding that her father had been her inspiration.
She said that her school uniform became a symbol of her resilience and also for all those young women who have a right to an education.
Asked where her resilience comes from, she replied that it was her mum and dad. Her father, she said, had a passion for women in parliament, and her mother had been a brave young woman.
“They can tell you to believe in yourself to encourage and support you.”
Sat Parmar asked her why women don’t progress in surgery when “60% of admissions to medical school are women…do you have any advice”?
Malala Yousafzai said: “It is an issue globally. It is surprising that women do that lack that representation. This is a global topic that we need to talk about.”
She called on women and girls to be themselves: “It‘s about inspiring the younger generations.
“There are invisible challenges out there, and we need to break that glass ceiling and to fight that inner feeling that it’s not for them,” she commented.
Daljt Dhariwal asked about the impact that educating girls has on the global economy: “There would be $15 to 30 trillion put into the global economy if every girl went to school. Do you think education for women is a western ideal and not for developing countries?”
Malala Yousafzai said that if you help women “you are helping the whole family.
“I think it is about developing countries and social norms. And there are other issues because girls’ education isn’t prioritised. There’s a lack of finance in education infrastructure.”
She pledged to push for funding for secondary education for girls.
Sat Parmar concluded the Q&A session by admitting that when he was treating Malala he would often try and persuade her to become a doctor, but she was adamant: “No, my country has many good doctors, but not as many good politicians.
“The most important thing I’m doing is in girls’ education and if we want to promote peace it is important to invest in education of girls. I wanted someone to speak out for me, that’s a voice I hear every morning.”
Sat Parmar thanked her and said it had “been a real honour to have you initiate our meeting.”
Her next engagement? Malala Yousafzai will shortly be participating in the G7 meeting in France.
Photos: PNJ Photography
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