- 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.
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).
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!