Catriona Henderson 


  • Job: Head of Buses and Taxis Division
  • Organisation: Department for Transport
  • Years in public service: 10

My grandmother/mother was a…

I’ve been lucky to come from a strong tradition of working women. My mother was a lawyer. She worked full time throughout my childhood and brought me up to assume that women could work hard and have a happy family life.

My great grandmother went to medical school in the 1920s and became a GP. I never met her, but she clearly had a strong personality and I’ve always been proud of what she achieved – and how my great grandfather, a railway engineer, supported her.

Me in a paragraph

I’m a problem solver. I like getting into the complexities of a tricky issue, really understanding it and working out what the best solution is.

Some of the hardest problems on my plate are about how people behave, rather than about technical scientific details. That means that there are lots of skills from my personal life which are also relevant at work, for example empathy is really important in both contexts.

My role

My team sets the national regulatory framework for buses and taxis. Much of the detailed operation of services is managed by private operators and local authorities, but my team’s job is to help them do that by providing funding and improving standards. At present, we’re focussing particularly on improving passengers’ experience and responding to changing technology.

I really enjoy working in transport as it’s a fundamental part of what most people do every day. A good journey can make such a difference to how your day goes and I’m proud to be part of making that happen. The Department’s also a really great place to work and I enjoy being part of such a supportive team.

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

Increase women’s participation at senior levels in the wide range of industries which Government works with. I’m fortunate to have lots of amazing senior female role models in the civil service, but the picture is much more mixed when I look outside of Government.

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