Maryborough Zonta Club International Women's Day lunch - (L) Sgt Lisa Manns, Nshara Kingston, Sgt Maria Nalder and Snr Cnst Rolly Poole.
Maryborough Zonta Club International Women's Day lunch - (L) Sgt Lisa Manns, Nshara Kingston, Sgt Maria Nalder and Snr Cnst Rolly Poole. Alistair Brightman

M'boro prison boss is helping women succeed

FROM prison riots to having her uniform fitted by inmates, it's safe to say Louise Kneeshaw has seen it all in her time with Queensland Corrective Services.

The general manager of Maryborough Correctional Centre was appointed to the position last year after 30 years with the service.

She spoke at yesterday's Zonta Club of Maryborough's International Women's Day event about the early days of her career in 1989, where women were put to work in men's jails for the first time.

Three months into her career, Ms Kneeshaw took up a role at Sir David Longland Correctional Centre in Brisbane where she was one of five women on the general run.

 

Maryborough Zonta Club International Women's Day lunch - (L) Anne Kearse (president) with guest speaker Louise Kneeshaw (G/Mgr. Maryborough Correctional Centre).
Maryborough Zonta Club International Women's Day lunch - (L) Anne Kearse (president) with guest speaker Louise Kneeshaw (G/Mgr. Maryborough Correctional Centre). Alistair Brightman

The other women left the positions within a year for various reasons.

At one point she was the only female officer on the general run at the facility, which led to questioning from male colleagues.

"You can imagine the kind of questions that I would get, that assumption you're not going to be there when it's needed,...does she really know what she's doing? Will she be there when we need her to be?

"Those kind of questions came pretty thick and fast."

Ms Kneeshaw said she had found the best way to quieten the critics during her career was to do every part of the job to the best of her ability.

"Over time your credibility builds, they see that you do good work, they see that you do it well and they respect the way you do your job."

Now, she says encouraging other women to succeed in the male-dominated industry is an important part of her job.

"The opportunity to support and encourage our fellow female colleagues is really a critical component of what we contribute on a day-to-day basis," she said.
 



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