Save the date: lunch with Karen
WHEN you ask Karen Hogan if she thinks the role of women has changed much in the region since she was young, her answer is straight forward.
"I'm not sure it has, I just think women's roles have become more public.”
As far as she can remember, the women in her sphere have just gotten on with it. And, as a mother, farmer, nurse and wife to a federal MP, that's what she does - just gets on with it.
"I try not to label myself. I am who I am and I just go with the flow,” she said.
She will say, however, growing up she was surrounded by strong women who had a huge influence on her.
It is the spreading of that kind of influence that now has her playing the role of hostess for a special International Women's Day luncheon in Lismore next week.
"I wanted to introduce Far North Coast women to women of influence from outside of the region and, in return, introduce them to our local women, to see what we do,” she said.
Now in its third year, this year's special guest is the Deputy Leader of The Nationals, Senator Bridget McKenzie, Minister for Sport, Rural Health and Regional Communications; a country woman who began as a primary school teacher and went on to be a university lecturer and mother of four children.
There is also another purpose to Karen's lunch - to throw her support around a different charity each year.
Last time Ita Buttrose shone the light on ageism as the patron for Alzheimer's Australia.
This year the focus is on domestic violence, with ticket proceeds raised going to The Lismore Women's and Children's Refuge.
Karen sees her role as community maven a duty.
"I'm not doing it for me,” she said.
"I saw how the event made people happy and that was rewarding.
"I was brought up that no matter who you are, you should pitch in and support, become involved, and in that sense what I do is just an extension of what Kevin does: to raise the profile of the region and, in this case, the charity.”
The luncheon will take place at the Lismore Workers Club on Friday, April 27.
Karen is currently is in her second year of a Masters of Advanced Practice Nursing, and has worked at the Lismore Base Hospital for the last 10 years. She also trained at Lismore Base over 30 years ago.
She believes all parents should be role models to their children regardless of their gender.
Of her degree, she said it is just part of her career advancement.
"It is about thinking independently as a person to grow and develop and help others. But I have always taught my kids one important thing about volunteering: you will always get more out than you put in,” she said.
And on being an MP's wife, she is equally sanguine.
She is proud of the work Page MP Kevin Hogan does for our community, but while he's in Canberra, "like many women in the area, I play backstop”.
"You go home to find your bull in the neighbour's paddock, you make the call to have it brought back. If the pump, goes, you get it working again,” she said.
"You will find many women out there not talking about it but still doing it, running farms, keeping the books and organising the family, which is why I'm so thrilled to have Bridget coming.
"Now there is a woman who gets on with it. That is what is so rewarding about the lunch, we get to hear all these incredible stories about how these women who have just done it and do a great job.”
To buy a ticket to Karen's International Women's Day luncheon, phone 0474242582.