More women than ever are branching out into careers in Parks and Gardens in the Southern Downs. Southern Downs Regional Council Parks Ganger Emily Coy does not beat around the bush when she discusses working in the male-dominated field.

“It can definitely be a bit awkward when we walk into a toolbox talk and the room is full of men and we are the only three women,” she said. “When I joined Council back in 2011 there was only one other girl in the team and now there’s three, so we’ve certainly come along since then.”

At 29 years old, Coy is SDRC’s only female Parks Ganger and one of three young women working in SDRC’s Parks and Gardens team. Coy leads a team of eight, including labourers Bri Crabtree and Emily McNalty. As the only three women in a 13 strong crew, there is no job too hard for the female labourers in the Parks and Gardens team. “We do everything that the men in our team do,” Coy said. “It is really important for girls to know they don’t have to stick to the norm,” Crabtree said. “There is more opportunity for girls now and they can absolutely do the same jobs that boys do.”

The youngest labourer among the trio, Emily McNalty completed a traineeship in horticulture at Council before joining the Parks and Gardens team full-time in 2017. “When I first started it was nerve racking and a bit challenging being among all the boys and being part of a male dominated team,” she said. “Having a few girls to balance it is really good because you can bounce off each other.”

While the trio carries out all the same duties as their male workmates, they all agreed men and women bring different strengths to the team. “I think we bring more of an eye for detail and take great pride in how we finish things. I love our job and I think we are really lucky to do what we do.”

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