Wendy Short was nominated by UQ and Universities Australia to participate in the MITACS Globalink program in Canada. In June Wendy travelled to Quebec to spend three northern summer months at Univesite de Montreal where she had an internship in medical anthropology in the nursing faculty. Her research initially focused on the barriers to achieving medical care that are formed by social constructions of gender and experienced by diverse groups of migrants to Canada. In parallel, she completed two co-authored journal articles: the first on the impacts of stigma for women in South Indian who have contracted HIV through matrimonial intercourse; and the second on the challenges of finding sex and gender sensitive research in medical databases.
Wendy and her supervisor Dr Bilkis Vissandjee undertook a major research project on identifying current project innovation and best practice initiatives in achieving synergistic gender equity transformation as part of projects, policies and research aimed at increasing equality of participation in food systems. Canada’s International Development Research Centre accepted their report on “Advancing the Science of Gender Equity Transformation within Food Systems Research” and they are currently preparing three publications from that work. While in Montreal Wendy was invited to Paris for a week-long course with prominent French feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray, titled “The First Steps in Building a World Culture”.
In January, with the generous assistance of grants from both UQ Advantage and the School of Social Science, Wendy attended the 6th National Bioethics Conference in Pune, India where she had been invited to present a paper on South Indian Women with HIV and to jointly lead a workshop on “Sex and Gender in Health Care”. She will never forget one doctor telling them that he had attended the workshop because he didn’t know what the title meant and believed he needed to learn. Wendy was also invited to teach a session the following week in Hyderabad at the GIAN (Global Initiative of Academic Networks) graduate program on Prevention and Control of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM), where she gave a class on the ways social constructions of sex and gender can impact dietary choices and thereby increase vulnerability to obesity and T2DM. The students really engaged in the topic and joined willingly in impromptu role play to explore the barriers faced by women, girls and members of India’s diverse (LGBTI communities).
While Wendy learnt a lot technically in the last nine months, including some pitfalls to avoid in the future, her strongest memories are of the people. Learning information is one thing, learning you have a place in a global network of people with aligned aspirations, who challenge your mind and heart, and who stretch you to go further – like Drs Cheryll Alipio and Yancey Orr, without whom the above journey and my progress in anthropology would not have been possible – well, that’s been priceless.