Charles Sturt University’s vice chancellor Professor Heather Cavanagh urges women to believe in their abilities and to learn when to say no.
Prof Cavanagh spoke at the International Women’s Day event at Laurieton United Services Club on March 8, in front of an audience of all ages and many backgrounds.
She said women can be their own worst enemies as they tend to doubt their own skills and take on more than they can cope with.
Prof Cavanagh said she got the position where she is today due to accepting opportunity and allowing people to believe in her abilities.
“Believing that sometimes people do know what’s best for you, which might not be what you think,” she said.
Prof Cavanagh spoke about her background including how she was raised in Scotland and became involved in research, during a period when it was still very male dominated.
She said when she had children, there was no such thing as maternity leave and she had two weeks off from work after giving birth to her first child and three weeks for her second.
Prof Cavanagh moved to Australia with her family and spent 17 years teaching at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga before moving to Port Macquarie.
She said it’s been an absolute joy working on the team at the Port Macquarie campus, which has become part of the community.
Prof Cavanagh said her greatest achievement has been her children.
The event was emceed by Camden Haven High School students Lillibet Skerritt and Paiton Wilkinson.
Lillibet said she was raised by her parents to be a self resilient and strong minded individual.
Lillibet has been involved in the Share the Dignity campaign which aims to support homeless women and victims of domestic violence, to ensure no one is left behind either socially or economically.
She said the group collects thousands of pads, tampons and personal hygiene products each year for women.
Paiton said she and three others will be participating in Coastrek, which is a 60 kilometre team trekking challenge to help fundraise for the Fred Hollows Foundation.
She said her teammates would support and encourage each other and ‘push themselves to their limits’ to help other women and girls less fortunate then themselves.
The March 8 event was hosted by Quota International Camden Haven and money raised went to Australian women in drought stricken areas.