Local women recognised ahead of International Women’s Day

Local women have been celebrated in the Hunter ahead of today, International Women’s Day. 

The Newcastle Woman of the Year award recognises a woman from the Newcastle state electorate who is an inspiration to others.

This year, Maryville midwife, trauma survivor and mental health and LGBTQI+ advocate Oceane Campbell has received the award.

Oceane Campbell is a midwife who worked on the frontline of the pandemic supporting women in childbirth, she was a driver of an initiative in the Hunter New England LHD to improve maternity care for LGBTQI+ people, educating and training other health workers on how to ensure safe access for members of that community. In 2017 Ms Campbell was also recognised by the University of Newcastle for her role in developing a virtual reality application which teaches midwifery students how to resuscitate a newborn.

Ms Campbell is a strong advocate for removing stigma around mental health. 

“I feel like I’m only one small part of this incredible community who have helped me grow and achieve these things,” she said.

“I hope that I can continue to show women accessing maternity services that they deserve the most respectful and compassionate care through pregnancy and birth.”

“I want to do everything in my power to make people feel that mental health issues are not something to be ashamed of and that it’s okay to speak up and seek support.”

In Maitland, there were ten finalists which included Nikki Cousins, Anne-Louise O’Connor, Lauren Gear, Stacy Jacobs, Nicole Barber, Sigi Van Der Westhuizen, Kerrie Duffey, Angie Ussher and Taneal Forbes.

The winner of the 2022 Maitland Local Woman of the Year was Barbara Heckman.
Ms Heckman has been involved in various community groups over the years including the East Maitland Girl Guide Support Committee, Maitland Meals on Wheels, the Country Women’s Association Maitland Branch, Maitland’s Slow Food Market’s and catering for Tocal Field Days and Maitland Show.
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