Jan Baxter

Jan Baxter

Service Delivery Coach, Department for Work and Pensions

Years in Public Service: 19.5

My grandmother/mother was a…

Both of my grandmothers started work “in service” i.e. far away from their home and family to work in rich peoples’ houses. My mother always worked and she impressed on me the importance of working and earning my own money. She was a secretary for most of her working life and insisted I learn how to type (despite my objections) as she said I would always find it a useful skill. Now that I use a keyboard all day I appreciate her good sense even though at the time I thought of secretarial work as “women’s’ work” and as a fledgling feminist thought it was beneath me! The arrogance of my young and naïve self.

Me in a paragraph

My parents worked full time and yet still did lots of voluntary work so I grew up understanding the importance of contributing to society and helping others. My job enables me to help people and also indulge my passion for equality and fair play. I also love the Inclusion work I do within the department. That has given me valuable experience of relating with colleagues across the DWP/Civil Service and within my local area as we work to become a more Inclusive organisation.

My role

I’ve held a wide variety of roles at DWP and currently I’m part of the team who welcome customers to the jobcentre and help them with queries and signposting to support. I also deliver “group information sessions” which gives me the opportunity to demonstrate enthusiasm and encouragement while learning more about people and cultures outside my experience.

If I had a magic wand, what I would do to accelerate gender equality?

We have to determine the root causes of gender inequality and deal with those in order to bring lasting change. For example, where women tend to be less successful/senior in their career it is often attributed to child bearing and rearing or the perceived distractions associated with that. If we could accept the importance of that role and treat time away from paid work in the same way we view sabbaticals as enhancing an individual’s worth rather than a huge inconvenience then a lot of issues would resolve themselves. Anything else is a sticking plaster over the problem.

Anything else you’d like to say

I have been thrilled to learn about the events, blogs and activities everyone is doing for the Suffrage Centenary Celebrations. I hope we maintain the momentum of interest and enthusiasm engendered and want it to become the norm!

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