Gloucester VIEW Club's International Women's Day guest speaker is Christine George

Balance for Better: Women of Gloucester unite to celebrate International Women's Day hosted by the Gloucester VIEW Club. Photo: Anne Keen
Balance for Better: Women of Gloucester unite to celebrate International Women's Day hosted by the Gloucester VIEW Club. Photo: Anne Keen

With this year's International Women's Day theme being 'Balance for Better', Gloucester VIEW Club opted for a guest speaker who understands gender imbalance in the workplace.

Manning/Great Lakes Police District (which includes Gloucester) Chief Inspector Christine George knows first hand what it is like to be a woman working in a male dominated industry.

Christine began career in the police force in 1990, at a time when the class ratio at the academy was 27 men to three women, and typically women were on a waiting list for several years before even getting the chance to attend. 

Once out of the academy, Christine's first placement was at The Rocks in Sydney.

"There were 99 staff at the time and I was the only woman," Christine called.

And now, she holds the most senior female position the Manning/Great Lakes area has ever had.

Not bad for a diary farmer from Taree who used to bring cattle to every Gloucester Show.

"And we'd do well," she laughed.

Christine has spent most of her career in the Sydney area waiting for the right time to come back home.

Christine George talks about her journey to the highest ranked female position ever held in the district.

Christine George talks about her journey to the highest ranked female position ever held in the district.

"I had opportunities to come back sooner, but I wanted to wait until I held a high enough ranking position to really make a difference," she explained.

Her goal is to change the public perception of the police department.

Christine shared her story with a room full of women at the Gloucester VIEW Club's International Day morning tea on Friday, March 8 at the Gloucester Uniting Church.

Club president, Joan Harwood said the club holds an event every year and invites all the women from all the service clubs in Gloucester to attend.

Joan shared history of the club with the women, explaining how in 1960 this all female organisation was started by a man, George Forbes, the then General Secretary of The Smith Family. He saw the potential for an organisation which allowed women from all walks of life to develop interests outside the home, providing friendship, education and mental stimulation. At the same time he hoped to offer these women the means to assist others less fortunate through The Smith Family.

The history of the International Women's Day event, which the VIEW Club acknowledges every year, was born out of the Socialist Party of America's first Women's Day held on February 28, 1909 as a way of advocating for women's right. The day was officially adopted by the United Nations in 1975 and in some countries is a public holiday, while in others it's a day of protest.