RCGP Chairs discuss inclusion this International Women's Day

What does inclusion mean to you? This International Women’s Day, we have explored this simple but significant question. To celebrate the inclusive work of the College and our members, we hear from inspiring women leaders in general practice. 

RCGP Chairs and Vice Chairs, Dr Rowena Christmas, Dr Ursula Mason, Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Dr Victoria Tzortziou Brown and Dr Margaret Ikpoh tell us what inclusion means to them. 

Dr Rowena Christmas on compassionate leadership

Dr Rowena Christmas has served as Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners Cymru Wales since 2021. She discusses what makes an inclusive leader and why it matters in the workplace.  

"Inclusion for me is all about compassionate leadership, and working in teams where every member feels valued, important, safe and cared about. If you know that your team will support you, then overall problems are discussed, anxieties are shared, concerns are voiced and teams and most importantly patients are safer.

"In addition, teams are more likely to flourish, to be resourceful and innovative, to go the extra mile. Everyone wins. 

"I try to inspire inclusion by ensuring that everyone knows my door is open (metaphorically, as it’s usually shut for reasons of confidentiality!) I am open about how busy general practice is, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have time for anyone who needs it. We proactively try to promote diversity in our team, recognising the different strengths people bring. Concerns are addressed promptly, and solutions are sought with the direct input of those who are affected. 

"I have been very fortunate to have felt welcomed and included throughout my career. This in turn has enabled me to have the confidence to speak up and offer solutions to workplace challenges, even when I was very junior."

Dr Ursula Mason on valuing every voice

Dr Ursula Mason is RCGP Northern Ireland Chair and a GP in Carryduff, South Belfast. She describes what inspiring inclusion in general practice looks and feels like.  

"Inclusion means listening to and valuing everyone's voice, particularly seeking out those that don't often get the chance to be heard. 

“I inspire inclusion in the workplace by trying in word and deed to help women and girls reach their potential, empowering them to climb to the top of their ladder and seeking to help hold it still at the bottom while they do.

“I feel included when others positively reinforce my efforts, and support and empower me to push open doors of opportunity and walk through.”

Inspiring inclusion

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, RCGP Chair, Dr Victoria Tzortziou Brown, RCGP Vice Chair (External Affairs) and Dr Margaret Ikpoh, RCGP Vice Chair (Professional Standards) discuss the theme ‘inspiring inclusion.’

What does inclusion mean to you? 

We would love to hear your perspective on the meaning of inclusion and the inclusive environments that you may have experienced at the RCGP. If you have a story to share, please let us know. 

For more information about International Women's Day 2024 and how you can get involved, visit the official IWD website

Our online exhibition, 'Women at the heart of general practice', explores past and current roles of women in general practice through history. Visit the exhibition to find out about women GPs at work. 

About the writers

An image of Dr Rowena Christmas smiling in her general practice office.

Dr Rowena Christmas

Chair, RCGP Cymru Wales

Rowena Christmas is a GP at St Briavels, Wye Valley Practice, and Chair of RCGP Cymru Wales.

A headshot of Dr Ursula Mason with a plain background.

Dr Ursula Mason


Dr Ursula Mason is RCGP Northern Ireland Chair and a GP in Carryduff, South Belfast.