Emma Rhind-Tutt


  • Job: Policy Official
  • Organisation: Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • Years in public service: 2

My grandmother/mother was a…

My paternal grandmother was a Land Army girl during the Second World War – I loved hearing her stories when I was young of the unusual opportunities women had during the war.

Once married, she helped on my granddad’s farm and even ran a restaurant (one day he came home to say that he had bought one!) as well as having an enormous family – 6 children!

She was secretary, treasurer and chairman of the local Conservative’s women’s committee, so I hope she would be proud of my involvement in the DWP Women’s Network steering group.

A photograph of Emma's Nan sitting in a blue high-backed chair, wearing a pink blouse.

My maternal grandmother and grandfather have been deaf since birth. Disabilities, including deafness (which was sometimes thought of as a learning disability) was heavily stigmatised so my nanny had a poor education. She held menial jobs in factories and doing cleaning work.

I marvel at how well her and my granddad have done for themselves and in successfully raising a family despite their disabilities and challenges faced.

Neither of my parents were able to go to University, so I feel very lucky to have had the opportunities in life that they didn’t.

Me in a nutshell

I have always been a ‘people person’ and love being around others - like my mum, my leadership skills lie in building good relationships and maintaining cohesion.

This means I enjoy working in a team and have had great, supportive teams in DWP with interesting, intelligent and caring people.

In my free time I love languages and travel - I’m currently studying my fourth European language - and music, either playing piano or singing in my choir (though I’m the youngest there by some way).

My role

I have had a few roles since university – fraud investigation in a large corporation (significantly less exiting than it sounds!) and teaching English abroad, but I have found my vocation policy-making in the civil service.

I first worked in disability policy in the Work and Health unit, which was a fulfilling and rewarding agenda. I now work in Private Pension’s policy, which is more complicated but has a lot of political coverage and is very fast moving!

I enjoy collaborating with others to achieve government objectives and particularly enjoy working where there is a government priority and the opportunity to make real change.

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

I would make it more acceptable for both women and men to be seen to balance fulfilling work with looking after children.

I think shared parental leave is a great policy, but more men need to take this up so it is seen as the 'norm' (especially in certain male-dominated sectors) before it will have real traction.

Anything else you’d like to say

I think the civil service does a lot to support women in achieving and securing really varied, interesting and rewarding roles and I’m excited to see where my career leads me!

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