Peta Pinson: on being the first female mayor, sexism on the job and why Barbie is her hero

Peta Pinson is the first female mayor of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council. PHOTO: Port News
Peta Pinson is the first female mayor of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council. PHOTO: Port News

Peta Pinson says she has experienced her fair share of sexism and misogyny since elected mayor of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council in July 2017.

Ms Pinson is proud to be the first female mayor of the region.

"I find the role exhilarating, I couldn't imagine doing anything else at this stage of my life," Ms Pinson said.

But she said it isn't without its challenges.

"I find the sexism can be exhausting," she said.

"Misogynist behavior can occur and I find that a little bit exhausting and frustrating."

Ms Pinson said when she was first elected to the role she was taken aside by someone "she had to work with in a professional capacity".

I was told there was more to local government than lipstick and hairspray.

Peta Pinson

She said she was shocked by the comment but it was an indication of what was to come.

Mayor Pinson believes her gender is an asset.

"I bring to the role a different outlook to what a man brings," she added.

She raised eyebrows this week when she told a youth forum that the doll Barbie was one of her heroes.

But she stands by the comment.

"Barbie is not all that she is pigeonholed to be," she said.

Barbie is actually a feminist herself, she is a strong independent woman who inspires young women.

Peta Pinson

She cited the fact that Barbie was an astronaut and landed on the moon years before man did it.

"Mattel had Barbie dressed as an astronaut and it wasn't until four years later the Americans landed on the moon," she said.

"Barbie is also dressed as a firefighter back in the 90s, yet even today in 2019 female representation in the fire service is quite low."

While she acknowledges Barbie might need "bigger hips and the boobs should be a little less perky" she thinks women can still be inspired by Barbie.

Mayor Pinson said barbie was a hero of hers. PHOTO: Mattel

Mayor Pinson said barbie was a hero of hers. PHOTO: Mattel

Mayor Pinson paid tribute to her husband Craig who she said has been a wonderful support during her time in local government. 

The couple have been together since she was 15.

"He is a great father, good businessman, wonderful friend and husband, we are a team and I couldn't do this without him."

Mayor Pinson has two grown up children Ashleigh and Brendan and said owning her own business allowed her flexibility to be a "mother and a working woman" when the children were younger.

She hopes to inspires all people, not just women, during her tenure as mayor.

"With hard work and determined you can do what you set out to do."

She tells young women to "be bold, be brave and be the best you can be".

"Don't limit yourself or allow others to limit you, the world is full of opportunities and you just need to seek them out."

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