As we commemorate International Women’s Day, I reflect on the invaluable contributions of the many women who have shaped my journey as an early-career optometrist.

Like many optometry students, I initially felt that a career in research was unachievable. However, an opportunity arose, during my final year at the UNSW School of Optometry & Vision Science, to undertake a research project under the supervision of Professor Lisa Keay and Dr Belinda Ford. Immersed in the research process, I found immense satisfaction when our collective efforts culminated in a published paper. Witnessing their passion for advancing our industry sparked a newfound interest for academia within me and made the prospect of a research career feel more attainable.

Upon graduation, I entered clinical practice and had the privilege of working with a team of exceptional women who served as mentors in both my career and life. They created a nurturing environment that allowed me to thrive as an optometrist, and my mentor, Susan Ang-Ngo, motivated me to explore my clinical interests in paediatrics and orthokeratology.

After two years, I felt drawn back to UNSW to pursue my interests in research. The initial months as a research optometrist were marked by numerous learning curves, but I was fortunate to receive unwavering support from Dr Angelica Ly and Dr Jessie Huang-Lung. They patiently navigated me through the complexities of research and empowered me to embrace new challenges.

This year marked a significant milestone as I take on a new role as an Associate Lecturer at the School of Optometry & Vision Science. Surrounded by a constellation of remarkable female educators and leaders, their passion and mentorship serve as a constant source of motivation in my career.

I am grateful for all the women who have supported my career thus far. And I am continuously inspired by these female luminaries, who are leading our profession and shaping the future of optometry. Their example serves as a reminder that, as women, there are no limits to what we can achieve in our career. Let us continue to uplift the next generation of women in healthcare and academia.

Happy International Women’s Day!