Association, Enabling Environment

An introduction to the Regional Professional Committee for Europe 

24 February 2024

ICM’s Regional Professional Committee – Europe is comprised of nine midwives tasked with representing a vast area of 53 countries. As a committee, we do not aim to represent all midwives in Europe, but rather aim to build positive working relationships in the region, while respecting the rich cultures, diversity, religious practices, languages and differing contexts that midwives work and practise in. 

We want to use this first spotlight to introduce ourselves. We are all midwives supported by our own midwifery associations and between us we work in a range of settings: clinical practice, education, leadership, regulation and research We live and practise in different countries; Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Malta, Portugal, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. We have many things in common as we are all passionate midwives and activists who strive for equity in access to quality continuity of midwife care across the world and our region.  

While we consider that the diversity of our group is our strength, we also recognise there are limitations in our membership as far as reach. The European region is vast – stretching from Portugal in the west, moving east through the Kyrgyz Republic in Central Asia to the eastern shores of Russia and includes countries that were part of the former Soviet Union. As a consequence, in many European countries, the three ICM official languages: English, French and Spanish are neither understood nor spoken by the majority of people, adding to the challenge of us reaching all midwives. However, new technologies bring us closer and help us bridge the language gap every day.  

 Most of us live in high-resource countries with prosperity, peace and stability yet many midwives still face challenges in being able to work to their full scope of practice. In contrast, we recognise there are countries facing conflict and disasters, resulting in humanitarian crises – the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Armenia–Azerbaijan border crisis and Azerbaijani offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh‎, the Israel–Hamas war and the Turkish-Syrian earthquake are just some examples. Such situations affect women and gender-diverse people, their newborns and families. They also push midwives to the extreme, sometimes forcing them outside of their scope of practice, their resources, their personal safety and beyond.   

We aim to approach our role in the RPC – Europe with humility and transparency and with a hope to reach all countries regions, cultures, and contexts in the region, while using the values and principles of the ICM.  

We are very much looking forward to meeting you at our first ICM Regional Conference on 7-9 November 2024 in Berlin. Remember to save the date in your diaries!  


Meet the Members

Silvia Ammann-Fiechter

Education: Switzerland

Michaela Michel-Schuldt

Research: Germany

Katja Schrøder

Research: Denmark

Gila Zarbiv

Emerging leader: Israel

Pauline Borg

Regulation: Malta

Isabel Ferreira

Practice: Portugal

Jayne Marshall

Chair education:  UK

Dawn Johnston

Regulation:  Ireland

Irena Bartels

Practice: Estonia