I guess my favourite things would be music, friends and family. And any combination of those things.

I’m 43 and I work as a public servant in the Department of the Environment. I’m in a long term relationship with my partner of 17 years, and I’ve got two adult step kids. In general, I’m pretty comfortable and happy at the moment. Everything is cruising along pretty well.

I grew up in Dubbo on a farm, and came to Canberra in 1990 to study science at ANU, and just really liked it. I’d lived in Sydney for six months before that and couldn’t stand it. Canberra is a nice middle ground for country folk. It’s not too daunting or difficult to get around.

There are lots of things that are good about being a woman in Canberra. There are lots of intelligent, wonderful women here. Lots of creative people. People are very socially conscious here, and it makes life a lot easier than it must be in a lot of places. I think it’s a very comfortable place for most women to live. At least in my world it’s a very comfortable, caring, supportive place to be.

I think it’s easy for me to maintain my health and wellbeing here too. I’m educated, I’ve got a job, I live in the Inner North and I work near the city so I can ride everywhere. So just having a push bike and swimming in summer and walking everywhere and hanging out is usually enough exercise to maintain my health.

I guess the hardest thing is—and it’s just from my perspective and not just about being in Canberra—that things haven’t changed in terms of equality, violence against women and people’s perceptions of gender as much as I thought they would. Although Canberra is a good place for a woman to live, there are many places that haven’t changed very much.

It’s a difficult question, what does it mean to me to be a woman. I guess I grew up thinking that by now we would not be focussed on gender. It drives me crazy that we still need to talk about it!

Over the years I guess I’ve become more aware of what it means to me to be a woman, but it’s a very personal thing. To be a woman means being whatever you choose to be. It means different things to different people. But it usually means filling lots of different roles every day.

My perfect day would be to wake up to a lovely Canberra sunny day: a sleep in, a swim at Dickson pool, a big breakfast, a read in the backyard. And then at some stage there would be incredible people and music and food and beer, and later falling into bed feeling ridiculously fortunate.


Image created by Liz Thompson