Job: Briefings, Correspondence & Parliamentary Adviser, Nuclear Directorate
Years in Public Service: 6 months
My grandmother/mother/friend is/ was…
On my mother’s side, my grandmother left school at the age of 14 and has spent almost her entire life as a full-time mother, housekeeper and now grandmother. Family has always been the centre of her life. My mother was the first woman in our family to pursue further education. She now manages school finance for an entire county, something which she cares very deeply about. My paternal grandmother, despite also leaving school at a young age, is one of the most voracious readers you will ever meet. She has spent a lifetime reading everything she can get her hands on. She was thrilled when I decided to take an English Literature degree, something I have always wished that she could have done too.
Me in a paragraph
I graduated from university last year and am fully embracing my first year of graduate life. I am the sort of person that can’t sit still for very long, so I am doing my best to soak up every opportunity that comes my way both in my work and outside of it. For example, I have recently taken up boxing as a new sport and am currently training after work to take part in a charity fight to raise money for Pride in London. When I’m not at work or training, you can probably find me in one of London’s many nice pubs, attending a talk (I love talks!) or planning a trip somewhere.
My role sits in the centre of a directorate of over 200 officials. With a team of that size, my job chiefly exists to coordinate and manage cross-cutting briefings and requests which span multiple policy areas for Private Office and senior officials. I also manage the directorate’s correspondence inbox and coordinate responses to Parliamentary Questions. What I love about this role is the diversity of work that comes across my desk. I have organised a ministerial visit, written a ministerial speech for a conference, dealt with urgent PMQ requests and been escorted around a nuclear power plant. I left university less than a year ago and this has certainly exceeded my expectations for the first year of my career!
If I had a magic wand, what I would do to accelerate gender equality?
If I had a magic wand, I would eradicate this semantic obsession with the word ‘feminism’. We waste so much time and energy arguing over what a solution should be called, rather than the solution itself. I would also eradicate the misconception that gender equality is not a conversation for men to be part of. We need men to engage in this movement if we are to truly achieve this goal.
Anything else you’d like to say..
I am a big advocate of the power of normal, daily conversation. There is absolutely a place for protests, marches, conferences and organised political movement, but I have often found the most effective and accessible means of opening someone’s eyes to this issue is through talking about personal experiences. We must remember that, historically speaking, gender inequality is normal. It has never existed before and therefore it is imperative that we communicate that just because something does not immediately strike you as out of place, unjust or wrong, does not mean that it isn’t so. Pointing out that something that has always been accepted is no longer, and never should have been, acceptable is an uncomfortable position to be in. To make real progress, we have to learn to have uncomfortable conversations and not apologise for the political space this takes up.