“The experience was unbelievably liberating and provided a powerful platform to move forward.”
I graduated after completing a Bachelor of Arts in 1982, majoring in Psychology and Sociology.
I came from a very impoverished working class background, where the prevailing thinking of the time was; women were shop or clerical workers, expected to marry and have children, with little thought as to any career prospects.
I was employed at the time in the State Public Service as a Clerical Officer, where going beyond Level 1 was rare for a female, essentially promotion beyond this level was only available for males.
I thought I could do better and knew I would go nowhere without formal qualifications, hence the application to Flinders University. This proved to be a life changing decision. Two lecturers had a profound influence in teaching me how to think, and removing the cultural restraints I was locked into at the time. These lecturers were Anna Yeatman (Sociology) and Brian Medlin (Philosophy).
The ability of these two individuals to explain and more importantly encourage a challenge of societal structures and your place in these structures, was quite outstanding. Anna was especially influential coming from the female perspective, which effectively gave me the hammer to crash through any ceiling, glass or otherwise. The experience was unbelievably liberating and provided a powerful platform to move forward.
I subsequently did a Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting, completing the Professional Year to become a Chartered Accountant. Armed with these tools I left the Public Service and was successful in working my way to becoming a Director of a major Adelaide accounting firm, sadly still rare for women today.
The technical skills acquired were important, but had nowhere near the impact of the tuition received from Anna and Brian, in understanding I could step up and take my place at the top of a profession without regard to gender or background. To both of them – they will never be forgotten and I shall be eternally grateful.