Records of Women in Gynaecology & Obstetrics (WIGO)

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This material is held atThe Women's Library
Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG
Dates of Creation1982-1997
Language of Material English
Physical Description 0.5 A box

Scope and Content

The archive consists of minutes (1982-1996), correspondence, policy papers, campaigning material, training programmes, conference papers (1991-1997) and published articles (1985-1997).

Administrative / Biographical History

Women in Gynaecology and Obstetrics (WIGO) (1982-c. 1997) was formed in 1982, the founder members being Janet Boulton, Janet Duke, Greta Forster, Katy Frith, Ann Musson, Fran Reader, Wendy Savage, Shirley Steel and June Swinhoe. The first meeting of Women in Gynaecology and Obstetrics (WIGO) was held 18 Dec 1982 in response to a call from the Women in Medicine organisation to establish specific groups for specific branches of medicine. Membership was open to all women obstetricians with part 1 MRCOG, MRCOG or FRCOG and women planning to move into other specialities, such as genito-urinary medicine, family planning or community health were eligible as long as they were members of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Its initial stated aims were: to provide support for junior doctors with family commitments who were training in Gynaecology and Obstetrics; to provide a careers advisory service for women planning to enter the specialty; to provide support for women trainees from overseas; and to increase the numbers of women involved in decision-making at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). Officers of the society were comprised of a secretary, a treasurer and a co-ordinator who would also act as a press relations officer. By 1990 membership of WIGO reached over 50, while the papers of meetings in 1995 suggest that around 70 women were members. The group finally folded c.1997 because of lack of support.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by the organisation in 1992.

Other Finding Aid

The Women's Library Catalogue


Medical sciences
Maternal and child health
Womens organisations
Womens employment

Corporate Names

Women in Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Cataloguing Info

TitleThe Women's Library: Records of Women in Gynaecology & Obstetrics (WIGO)
AuthorThe Women's Library
Publication The Women's Library 27/01/2009
CreationFinding aid created by export from CALM v7.2.14 Archives Hub EAD2002

Minutes of WIGO meetings and related papers

Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1
Dates of Creation1982-1996
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

The papers cover the period from the group's formation in Oct 1982 to Jun 1996. It is an incomplete series comprised of agendas, minutes (unsigned) and some supporting papers.

The numbers of meetings held each year vary considerably - for the first few years only two meetings were held; by the 1990s there were five meetings a year.

The meetings had a non-static agenda: key items include those present and in attendance; apologies for absence; Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) matters; date of the next meeting. There are no papers for the meetings in 1988.

Items discussed centred around increasing the membership of WIGO, women training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) and careers advice for them, and attempts to nominate women for the RCOG council. Other common topics at meetings include questionnaires and surveys of trainees, structured training schemes, attempts to get a Careers Advisor for Women appointed at the College, consultant vacancies, publicity campaigns and availability of part-time training.


Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1/01
Dates of Creation1982
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

The inaugural meeting was held on 18 Dec 1982; the minutes give the aims, proposed membership, officers and subscriptions. Also included is a copy of a round robin letter sent out to women in obstetrics and gynaecology, announcing the formation of WIGO, the reasons for it, and inviting the recipient to the first meeting. A statement from 'Women in Medicine' was attached to this letter.


Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1/02
Dates of Creation1983
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Minutes for the first annual general meeting on 23 Apr 1983, and the agenda and minutes for a meeting on 10 Dec 1983. Also included are minutes of a meeting between WIGO representatives and the British Medical Association on 1 Nov 1983

Key items:

10 Dec - Report of the first meeting held between WIGO and the RCOG, to discuss issues related to women training in O&G


Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1/03
Dates of Creation1984
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Agendas and minutes for meetings on 12 May and 10 Nov.

Key items:

12 May - discussion about trying to get more women on the Council of the RCOG

10 Nov - discussion about WIGO constitution


Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1/04
Dates of Creation1985
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Minutes of the meetings of 4 May and 9 Nov 1985.

Minutes and Draft Constitution

Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1/05
Dates of Creation1986
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Draft Constitution dated 27 Oct 1986, and minutes of the meeting of 8 Nov, to which is attached a final copy of the same document, dated Nov 1986. The aims of the organisation are re-stated.


Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1/06
Dates of Creation1987
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Minutes of four meetings held in 1987: 31 Jan, 28 Mar, 8 Apr and 30 May.


Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1/07
Dates of Creation1989
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Minutes of meetings held on 18 Feb, 24 June, 21 Sept and 2 Dec 1989.


Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1/08
Dates of Creation1990
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Minutes of a meeting held on 8 Sep 1990.


Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1/09
Dates of Creation1991
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Minutes of meetings held on 2 Feb, 27 Apr, 29 Jun and 5 Oct 1991.

Key items:

2 Feb - WIGO has become affiliated to the National Alliance of Women's Organisations; meeting at the RCOG about training and manpower in O&G

2 Feb and 5 Oct - Question of consent for vaginal examination under anaesthesia


Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1/10
Dates of Creation1992
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Papers for meetings held on 4 Jan, 16 May, 25 Jul, 29 Sep and 12 Dec 1992, together with a membership list (those who had agreed to their names being published).

Key items:

4 Jan: changes in the MRCOG examination; recruitment into O&G; vaginal examination under anaesthesia

16 May: vaginal examination under anaesthesia; second WIGO conference

12 Dec 1992: future of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital


Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1/11
Dates of Creation1993
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Papers for meetings held on 6 Mar, 15 Apr, 17 Jul, 4 Sep and 27 Nov 1993.

Key items:

6 Mar - programme for the WIGO Conference at the Royal Society of Medicine on 24 Apr 1993, 'Women's Careers in Obstetrics and Gynaecology: Strategies for Change', which included a debate on the motion 'Changing From a Male-Dominated to a Female-Dominated Profession Would Be a Disaster'


Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1/12
Dates of Creation1994
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Papers for meetings held on 5 Feb, 28 May, 30 Jul, 24 Sep, 26 Nov 1994.

Key items:

28 May - WIGO's achievements and its future

30 Jul - discussion about 10th Anniversary of WIGO [minutes wrongly state that WIGO founded in 1984]; election of Wendy Savage to the General Medical Council

26 Nov - discussion on 'Democratising the College'

The file also includes a paper by Alison Fiander entitled 'Evaluation of Part-time Senior Registrar Training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology'


Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1/13
Dates of Creation1995
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Papers for meetings held on 28 Jan, 29 Jul, 30 Sep and 25 Nov 1995.

Key items:

29 Jul - vaginal examination under anaesthesia; future of the EGA Hospital; summary of replies to a WIGO questionnaire

25 Nov - announcement of a WIGO Conference at the Royal Society of Medicine in Nov 1996

The file also includes an undated draft paper by Jayne Cockburn, 'WIGO - the continuing questions - a brainstorm', discussing the future role of the group and the issues that still face women in O&G


Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/1/14
Dates of Creation1996
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Minutes of meetings held on 27 Jan, 30 Mar and 29 Jun 1996.

Key items:

30 Mar - Manpower issues, Calman changes

Correspondence and papers

Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/2
Dates of Creationc.1985-1997
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Includes: an undated WIGO membership list; rejection of Melanie Davies' chapter 'What Women Need from the Practice of Obstetrics and Gynaecology', submitted for the 'Progress in Obstetrics and Gynaecology' series; transcript of a presentation about a trainee in O&G; reflections on the 'Women in Medicine' survey into vaginal examination under anaesthesia; article 'Involvement in Women's Groups and Campaigns: Why women do or don't get involved'; programme and delegates for WIGO's 1993 conference; article 'Vaginal Examination by Medical Students' by Susan Bewley; copies of numerous overheads used in talks and presentations about women in O&G; letter from Wendy Savage (29 Oct 1997), attempting to renew interest in WIGO membership.

WIGO newsletters

Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/3
Dates of Creation1990-1993
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

An incomplete set of newsletters sent out to members: first issue Jun 1984, c. Jan 1990, Dec 1990, Mar 1991, Jun 1991.


Reference Number(s)GB 106 6WIG/4
Dates of Creation1984-1993
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Folder contains a large number of reprinted and photocopied articles relating to subjects of interest to WIGO. There are many papers written by WIGO members: Susan Bewley, June Swinhoe, Jayne Cockburn, Jean Chapple, Greta Forster, Wendy Savage, Valeria Thompson, among others.

* Anon. Monopoly of middle-aged men [editorial]. British Medical Journal 1991;337:1007-8

* Barker GH. [Editorial about WIGO and women in O&G]. Obstetrics and Gynaecology Today [no date]

* Bewley S. The future obstetrician/gynaecologist. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1991;98:237-240

* Bewley S. The law, medical students, and assault. British Medical Journal 1992;304:1551-3

* Blunt SM. Training in obstetrics. 'What's wrong with the specialty of obstetrics and gynaecology?' British Medical Journal 1991;303:1416

* Blunt S. How do hospital career women plan families? British Journal of Hospital Medicine;44:379

* Chamberlain G, Drife J. What turns women gynaecologists off? Contemporary Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1989;1:167

* Chapple J. Can training and recruitment in obstetrics and gynaecology be improved? Obstetrics and Gynaecology Today 1991;2:42-3

* Chissick R. 'You can be sexually assaulted (legally)'. Article in 'Company' magazine, Aug 1989

* Cockburn J, Bewley S. Do patients prefer women doctors? British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1996;103:2-3

* Everett J. Women in Gynaecology & Obstetrics: The present training programme in the UK. Medical Woman [c.1991]

* Forster G. Women in Gynaecology & Obstetrics: Genito-urinary medicine. Medical Woman 1990;9:6-7

* Garner L. 'An everyday case of assault'. Daily Telegraph, 20 May 1987

* Groves T. Part time doctors' training expands. British Medical Journal 1993;306:1565

* Haddad F. Women in Gynaecology & Obstetrics: Non-NHS obstetrics and gynaecology. Medical Woman [c.1991]

* Hall M. Women in Gynaecology & Obstetrics: Marriage and motherhood, research and practice. Medical Woman 1991;10:9-10

* James C. Women in Gynaecology & Obstetrics: An academic's perspective. Medical Woman [c.1991]

* Lefford F. Women doctors: a quarter-century track record. Lancet 30 May 1987:1254-1256

* Lucas C. Women in Gynaecology & Obstetrics: Colposcopy. Medical Woman 1990;9:8

* Mezey GC, Bewley S. Domestic violence and pregnancy. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1997;104:528-531

* Mezey GC, Bewley S. Domestic violence and pregnancy. British Medical Journal 1997;314:1295NHS Management Executive. Women in the NHS: An Action Guide To The Opportunity 2000 Campaign. Department of Health, London c.2000

* Nickerson KG, Bennett NM, Estes D, Shea S. The Status of women at one academic medical centre. JAMA 1990;264:1813 [first page only]

* Phillips A. 'When what you don't know can hurt you'. Guardian, 22 Jan 1991

* Pinion S. Personal View: Is it worth it? British Medical Journal 1991;302:599

* Reader F. Women in Gynaecology & Obstetrics: Well women services in the NHS. Medical Woman 1990;9:9-10

* Richmond C. Medicine and misogyny. Canadian Medical Association Journal 1993;149:1149-1150

* Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Memorandum of Council on The Role of Women Doctors in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. May 1987

* Savage W. Viewpoint. Hospital Doctor, 3 Oct 1991Schaller, JG. The advancement of women in academic medicine. JAMA 1990;264:1854-1855

* Scott JM. Women and the GMC: the struggle for representation. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 1988;81:164-166

* Swinhoe J. Obstetrics and gynaecology as a career. [Source not given]

* Thomas A. 'A family job that rules out family life'. The Times, 7 Nov 1991

* Thompson V. Women in Gynaecology & Obstetrics: Is there a career for women in obstetrics and gynaecology? - then and now. Medical Woman 1991;10:7-8

* Timmins N. 'Women doctors 'facing bleak career prospects''. [Newspaper article; source and date not given]

* Tuck S. Women in Gynaecology & Obstetrics: A new consultant's perspective. Medical Woman 1991;10:8-9

* Warren VJ, Wakeford RE. 'We'd like to have a family' - young women doctors' opinions of maternity leave and part-time training. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 1989;82:528-531

* Also included: three articles from Health Trends on Medical and dental staffing prospects in the NHS in England and Wales for 1985, 1986, 1989, and 1991, and an analysis of Consultant Distinction Awards for 1989, also from Health Trends