White Ribbon Ambassador Tanveer Ahmed recommitting rather than resigning

Despite calls for his resignation Tanveer Ahmed will recommit to White Ribbon.

Despite calls for his resignation Tanveer Ahmed will recommit to White Ribbon.

Controversial psychiatrist Tanveer Ahmed did not resign from his position as a White Ribbon ambassador yesterday amid mounting calls for his removal but could be forced out after a board meeting later this week.

White Ribbon has come under attack because Ahmed excused male violence against women because of "male disempowerment" in a story he wrote for The Australian on Monday.

He also described the acknowledgement of the Australian of the Year Rosie Batty and the COAG committee to which she has been appointed as "worthy" but said it risked "becoming dominated by ­radical feminists and a worldview around the powerlessness of women".

The board of White Ribbon, an organisation which runs a national male-led campaign to end men's violence against women, will not meet until Thursday to decide on Dr Ahmed's future with the organisation, said Libby Davies, the chief executive officer of White Ribbon.


Davies, the chief executive officer of White Ribbon, said that Ahmed had apologised to the organisation but had not offered his resignation – and at this stage Dr Ahmed's ambassadorship would not be revoked based on the opinion piece published in The Australian, despite the flood of complaints on social media and Clementine Ford's article on Wednesday

But she also revealed that White Ribbon had not yet received a formal complaint about Ahmed's article, which is the usual trigger for an investigation into the suitability of an existing White Ribbon ambassador.

She said that the content of the story was damaging, not only to White Ribbon but to the organisation's work against male violence.

"We were shocked by the article itself, shocked by its expression," she said. "I've been on the phone for two days [dealing with complaints]. It was offensive.

"He compromised his position as a White Ribbon ambassador," she said.

"It absolutely exemplifies some of the issue around men fully understanding violence against women . . . when a supposedly educated person makes gross misjudgements around the issue of feminism, equity and equality," she said.

Ahmed has been a White Ribbon ambassador since 2009 and Davies said he was appointed to the position before the rigorous process now in place.

The application process for those who wish to become ambassadors includes a nomination form, two referees, a 30 minute interview and a two hour e-learning module. While the organisation undertakes background checks, Davies says that they do not conduct either police checks or working with children checks. That decision based on consultation with the police across states.

Six ambassadors have had their positions with White Ribbon revoked since the campaign's existence. Last year, the organisation completed a major review of the appointment and administration of the White Ribbon ambassadorships. There are 2200 ambassadors.

Davies says that Ahmed has agreed to what White Ribbon describes as a recommitment process. In a statement released last night: "We have discussed the piece with Dr. Ahmed [and he] has agreed to participate in the Ambassador recommitment process, which includes training and the review of his suitability to remain a White Ribbon Ambassador."

But this is not the first time that Ahmed has attracted criticism for his judgment.

In 2012, ABC program MediaWatch revealed that he was a serial plagiarist – including one major piece of which one-third was the work of other people.

And not long after the exposure, he commandeered the ABC's Media Report to explain what he'd done.

He said: "There was definitely a time there where I knew what I was doing was wrong. And essentially did it anyway …I think I'd lost sight of the magnitude of what I was doing. I think it felt like a fairly minor transgression for me . . .  I think I'm prone to inappropriate shortcuts sometimes. And I think that's happened to me even as a junior doctor."

According to his website, Ahmed was elected to Canada Bay Council as a local councillor in September 2012 and is an appointee to the Australian Multicultural Council.