Wagga women defy gender stereotypes on International Women's Day

Thursday marked International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of women and push for gender equality all around the world.

The Daily Advertiser checked in with some of Wagga’s most powerful women – those working in male dominated fields – to see what advice they had for young women.

Wagga firefighter Sharon Spackman, one of our only female firies, began her career during a time when employers did not have to grant maternity leave.

“I became a firefighter for the challenge in life helping out the community and just giving something new a go,” Ms Spackman said.

“There wasn’t actually any maternity leave when I got out, but it exists now for female firefighters, which is wonderful.”

Ms Spackman challenged all young women to step out of their comfort zones and try something new.

“Give yourself a challenge, come and give something a go that you’ve never experienced before – I believe you don’t know until you give it a go.” 

Senior Constable Nicole Shaw began her career with the police 23 years ago, when equality between the genders was not guaranteed. 

“In the very early stages, there were not as many opportunities for females to go into specialised areas or progress, but that’s changed immensely and its all equal now,” Senior Constable Shaw said.

“If you want to join the police, definitely try, but my biggest advice would be to remain who you are and stay true to yourself as a female – don’t try and change to be like one of the boys or like anyone else.” 

Barbara Konstantakis, a publican with a trucking licence, is another Wagga woman who defies gender stereotypes. 

“It’s always a challenge doing a male dominated role in society these days, but I’m up for the challenge and I always challenge myself to do something outside of the box,” Ms Konstantakis said.

“Don’t let anything hold you back – being in a male dominated society, you’ve just got to step outside the box and enjoy the challenge.” 

Sign writer and ‘lady tradie’ Taryn Kearney said a supportive work environment makes all the difference.

“I’ve always been in a workplace that’s been really supportive, and I’ve had the opportunity to work for an all-female business as well,” Ms Kearney said. 


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