Fighting gender stereotypes all her life, Westmead Hospital registered nurse Stacey Stewart is a woman committed to empowerment and courage.
Growing up as one of six girls, Stacey and her sisters were exposed to stereotypical beliefs that women do not need an education – a view she has chosen to challenge throughout her life and share on International Women’s Day.
“I was told that I would be a housewife and that I wouldn’t need to finish high school, let alone go to university. But I wanted more for myself,” Stacey said.
“Fighting this stereotype and fighting for my education was something very important to me.”
Stacey has been working at Westmead Hospital for the past 16 years, building her career and forging her own path forward.
“I studied a Bachelor of Nursing and graduated in 1992. I started in cardiothoracic nursing and then moved to the emergency department in 2011.
“I’m now the nursing unit manager for the Emergency Short Stay Unit (ESSU) and Health Care for Older People (HOPE) unit.”
“The emergency department at Westmead Hospital is a very empowering environment to work in.
“The men and women working here are so supportive of career development, regardless of gender, and there are no barriers for progression.”
Throughout her nursing career, Stacey has juggled full time work and raising five boys with her loving husband.
Upon reflecting on motherhood, Stacey said she has always tried to educate her boys on gender inequality and ensure they treat women with respect and kindness.
“All my sons have wives or serious partners and I have told them to always encourage their wives to break through the glass ceiling.
“I remind their partners that they aren’t just my son’s wife or partner, they are their own person.
“I never want my family to grow up with the belief that they can’t do something purely because of their gender.”
International Women’s Day is a day which encourages society to think, act and be gender inclusive.
“International Women’s Day to me means recognising how far we’ve come and celebrating all we have achieved,” Stacey said.
“Don’t let gender be a barrier to success. Put yourself put there. Strive for excellence and you will achieve great things.”