Women should be encouraged to 'choose to challenge' and have their contributions valued, says Professor Margaret Dunlop.
Prof Dunlop is this years guest speaker at the International Women's Day Breakfast presented by Camden Haven High School and the Laurieton United Services Club on Monday, March 8.
The 7.30am breakfast celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women each year for International Women's Day.
During her speech Prof Dunlop will be discussing historical and modern examples of women challenging the norm. She will also be covering her own journey through nursing education.
"The theme for this year is 'choose to challenge' and so I thought I would talk about the choices that we make when we choose to challenge," she said.
"There are different ways of challenging and women need encouragement to just take it on and see what we can make of it.
"We now have women in parliament, women now take it for granted that they will work and not be a housewife, whereas that was not the case back when I got married.
"I've been thinking about what is happening recently in Canberra where women are choosing to challenge what is happening in parliament. Unfortunately it's still the women who pick up the pieces and the only thing we can do is keep at it.
"We have made incremental changes but not as much as I'd have hoped."
Prof Dunlop studied Education and English at the University of Sydney in 1974 and completed a Masters of Education at the University of New England in 1982.
In 1989 she finished a Doctorate of Nursing (PHD) at University of California, San Francisco.
"One of the turning points for me was when I took up the challenge at the then Armidale College of Advanced Education. They were setting up a course for nurse educators and they needed a nurse to set it up from scratch into an external studies course," Prof Dunlop said.
"It was quite a challenge really because I was the only nurse on the college staff for three years and the college was a male dominated area, I had to learn to work within that framework.
"We set up a really good course for nurse educators in the country, until that time the only way to get that education was in Sydney, Melbourne or Perth.
"It allowed a lot of people working as unqualified nurse educators to get their qualifications and grew to be quite a major part of what the college was doing."
Prof Dunlop would later expand the course to prepare nurse educators for the Solomon Islands with the World Health Organisation.
She also founded education programs as a foundation professor of nursing with Griffith University in Logan, Brisbane.
"Since retiring I have done an advisory role for a private university in Sumatra, Indonesia. I was advising on how to update their nursing course, a very interesting challenge through Australian Business Volunteers," she said.
Prof Dunlop has also been the president of Camden Haven Bridge Club for more than five years.
Tickets are $22.50 per person for the breakfast and may be purchased online, over the phone on (02) 6559 9110 or at Club reception.