If I was to put it into a nutshell, describing myself at this moment in time, I would say I’m a mum to six children, I’m a doctor, I’m a teacher, I’m a researcher and an administrator.

Maybe I should explain a little bit more about those! Being a mum makes sense to everybody. A doctor—I’m known as an anatomical pathologist. That’s a doctor who diagnoses diseases by looking down a microscope. So I diagnose cancer, and my research is a lot about trying to prevent cancer which is very important for everybody. My teaching—I teach lots of different groups but mainly medical students and also community groups to understand issues around health and disease. As for administration, well that’s something that comes with age.

My three favourite things? That’s easy. My family, music and water.

I think being a woman means being someone who is strong and independent but who also has the opportunity to be a mum, a wife or partner. And also, for me anyway, being a woman is having the innate ability to help others.

My story of being in Canberra today was that I came here with a 7 week old baby, because my husband got a job here and I knew only his parents.

The best things about being a woman in Canberra are the things I highlighted about what it means to be a woman. I don’t know if there is anything about the particular location that makes me think I’d feel differently about it whether I was in Canberra or Sydney or Europe.

I don’t think it’s really hard to be a woman in Canberra. I think the opportunities to do all the things that I mentioned like being independent, having your own career, being able to raise a family, being able to help others—all of those things I think you can achieve in Canberra.

For me it’s been difficult to maintain my health and wellbeing in Canberra, but I think for the most part that’s nothing to with the location. I think Canberra has wonderful environment—it’s clean, you get fresh water, food, lovely surrounds, wonderful opportunities to be able to exercise—but unfortunately I tend to work about 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, so I don’t give myself the kind of opportunities that are here to enjoy.

I think sometimes you can’t just look at a location and assume that it’s going to give you health and wellbeing. I think that location is important but some people, unfortunately, can have bad health wherever they might be and I don’t think it’s anything to do with them, it’s related to their genes.

My perfect day in Canberra would have to be to have a picnic with my family beside the lake.


Image created by Liz Thompson