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In my work life I’m a Senior Executive in the Parliamentary Service, I’m a board member of several not-for-profit organisations, I’m a wife, a mother, a daughter, and I’m physically very active.

And in terms of our family, our daughters are growing up, with one just having married and the second about to have a baby. So that’s where I am at the moment.

The three things that came to mind as my most favourite things are family, friends and work.

I came to Canberra many years ago to go to university. It was not a natural choice, I got a scholarship which brought me here, and that really changed my life because I stayed and joined the public service on a particular program, and I’ve been a career public servant ever since. I met my husband and married here and we’ve raised a family together here. So the taking up of that scholarship to come to Canberra, really meant that I had a very different life than I probably would have had if I hadn’t done so. And I enjoy being a career public servant. And I like Canberra very much and enjoy the life here.

I don’t normally think about myself as being a woman in Canberra, as opposed to living in Canberra. So the thing that first came to mind about the best things about being a woman here is that I’m a member of a female-only group called the Females in Training triathlon group—FIT.

The other things really are not female specific. I mean what I really value about Canberra is the natural beauty of the place, it’s physically very attractive. When there’s a drought here, when there was that terrible drought, it was a tough place to be, but by and large, since we’ve had some rain again, it’s a beautiful place. So I like the natural beauty. I like the fact that the national institutions are here, magnificent facilities, a very good education system, and it’s very easy to get to things. But they’re not women’s things—they’re Canberra things. So as far as being a woman in Canberra, the best thing is the fact that I can belong to FIT, and also I am on the board of the Women’s Centre for Health Matters!

When I had young children and returned to work in the public service, it was a very demanding time, as it is for I think most people who return to full-time work with young children. Particularly when I returned with our second child because I went back to work after 7.5 months, whereas when I returned to work after our third daughter, we had a nanny, and that made life much easier. The second child when both of us were working full-time, with a three year old and a 7.5 month year old, was arduous. So that’s what comes to mind in terms of the harder things about being a woman in Canberra. Other than that, for me I guess it’s not been hard to be a woman in Canberra, in terms of the lifestyle that I’ve access to here.

At the moment I think you’d have to say I’m in fairly good health, and one of the reasons I am in good health is that I’m fairly careful in terms of balancing—balancing full stop. I do enjoy riding my bike, I enjoy going for runs, and the access to bush trails, the access to bike paths—it’s a delightful place to be for that sort of activity. I’m very fortunate in that I can commute to work by bike. I manage to ride about 20km in the morning, around the lake on bike paths, and so I think I’m in a pretty healthy state, and I think that is made relatively easier here because of the fact that you don’t have the congestion and the traffic that you do have in the other state capitals, for example.

And also there’s always things to enter here and take part in. This morning there was the annual Women and Girls Fun Run which over 800 women were registered for. And yesterday there was a triathlon. And this morning also there was a major community cycle event. A positive story in terms of health and fitness at the moment.

On Saturdays I like to try and go for a run with some women in FIT—there’s several of them who are training at the moment for a very long run, and I’m not doing that but I join them and run a little bit with them, and we go out into the bush on trails, and it’s absolutely magnificent. And then subsequently we have coffee, and that takes up a few hours, and then I go home and recover and have some tea or do a crossword or something like that. And then I quite like getting out again and going for a bike ride or similar. So in terms of my ideal day in Canberra at the moment, it’s very much on the physical activity side.

What it means to be a woman is a difficult one. I think what comes to mind is to be a mother and to be a wife. We have three children, three daughters, three adult daughters, and so I think that’s what comes to mind.

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Image created by Liz Thompson