Gippsland Asbestos Related Diseases Support’s chief executive said there had been moments in her career when men had treated her as an “emotional woman”.
“Dealing with issues around asbestos, men are sometimes taken aback when they have to deal with me,” Vicki Hamilton, who received an Order of Australia Medal last year, said.
“They look at me and say, ‘what do you know about asbestos?'”
“It’s been difficult being a woman in this role, dealing with a lot of men, and men may challenge your position.”
Ms Hamilton’s is among the stories influential women will share about their path to ‘Making it Happen’ in their professional lives.
A series of letters will be read at the Grand Junction Hotel in Traralgon this Thursday in recognition of International Women’s Day on Sunday.
Attendants will also hear from the first woman to be elected as the Eastern Victoria Region, member Harriet Shing, Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans executive officer Christine Carolan and Latrobe City councillor and Latrobe Regional Hospital chair Kellie O’Callaghan.
Ms Hamilton said she had attended the Gippsland Trades and Labour Council event in previous years, but was honoured and privileged to be offered the chance to speak.
“It’s about showing young women that there is a pathway to tread, they can make change, advocate strongly and can make a difference,” she said.
Ms O’Callaghan said the task of reading a letter to a room full of strangers was not an easy thing to do.
She said in the true spirit of the event the letters were genuinely heartfelt and sincere, often emotional and more frequently inspiring.
“Although my letter may not hit all these marks, it will be brutally honest, may be confronting but most certainly will carry the theme of ‘Making it Happen’,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
“We each make our own way, often stumbling, picking ourselves up. Each of the four letters read on the night will carry a story and perhaps a journey.”
Women of Letters Making it Happen will begin at 5.30pm with tickets costing $20. Bookings are essential, email email@example.com or phone 5133 7684.