International Women's Day 2018: Tamworth police tell Oxley High Girls Academy to challenge themselves

CHALLENGE YOURSELF: The Oxley High Girls Academy celebrated International Women's Day with a Q&A with local police and other local go-getters Samantha Duncan and Kelsey Iris. Photo: Gareth Gardner
CHALLENGE YOURSELF: The Oxley High Girls Academy celebrated International Women's Day with a Q&A with local police and other local go-getters Samantha Duncan and Kelsey Iris. Photo: Gareth Gardner

IT WASN’T an interrogation by any means, but three Tamworth cops were certainly grilled by the Oxley High Girls Academy as they shared the challenges faced by females in the force.

The girls were obviously curious about why the women would willingly walk into a job as intense as policing, but the youngsters were told it was a career where you could make a change.

But you’ve got to recognise that and challenge yourself and say ‘why am I feeling this way’, is it justified?

Sergeant Mel Roberts

Policing, like any job, has its challenges for men and women, but Oxley Police District Sergeant Mel Roberts said the main challenge was overcoming your self-doubt.

“In any situation in life, I guess, you’ve got to look at your strengths and your weaknesses and you’ve got to use your strengths where you can.” Sergeant Roberts said.

“As women, quite often we are less confident than men when we go into things.

“But you’ve got to recognise that and challenge yourself and say ‘why am I feeling this way’, is it justified?

“It probably isn’t.

“You push forward and use those strengths to your advantage and you make it work.”

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While she investigates serious jobs that come in, Detective Senior Constable Rebecca McKenzie said there was a more basic challenge female cops could face.

IN CHARGE: Oxley Chief Inspector Kylie Endemi, Sergeant Mel Roberts and Detective Senior Constable Rebecca McKenzie at the Girls Academy with Samantha Duncan and Kelsey Iris. Photo: Gareth Gardner

IN CHARGE: Oxley Chief Inspector Kylie Endemi, Sergeant Mel Roberts and Detective Senior Constable Rebecca McKenzie at the Girls Academy with Samantha Duncan and Kelsey Iris. Photo: Gareth Gardner

“If we’re stuck at a crime scene and we need to go to the bathroom, it’s not quite as easy for us as it is for the blokes,” she said.

“The blokes can just go and find a tree and we’ve got to suck it up and hold on.”

The academy celebrated International Women’s Day giving its students a chance to quiz the police officers, as well Tamworth Local Land Council worker Samantha Duncan and singer-songwriter Kelsey Iris.

Academy program manager Janine Way hoped the event would make the girls realise “no matter what career path they choose” it could be achieved through determination.

Ms Way said half of the academy’s 10-strong year 12 cohort had their hearts set on university.

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