https://100years100women.blog.gov.uk/2018/11/06/sarah-lowther/

Sarah Lowther

Sarah, a young-looking lady with long dark hair wears a pink t-shirt and smiles at the camera. In the background there are flowers and foliage.

Profile

  • Job: User Researcher and UX designer
  • Organisation: Office for National Statistics
  • Years in public service: 1

My grandmother/mother was a…

My mother worked as a credit controller throughout her twenties and thirties; but when my sister and I were born she took a step back from her career in order to care for us.

That being said she somehow managed to juggle two children, my dad, the building and running of a successful 4 star holiday cottage and a portfolio of rental properties throughout my childhood.

I definitely believe that I get my ability to manage ten things at once from her.

My grandmother, on the other hand, was a career girl. In her twenties she worked as a sergeant in the women’s RAF - specifically as a weather girl in the met office during WW2.

She had a number of excellent stories; her favourite one began with her and her friend on tea duty, and ended with them dropping said tea all over a squadron leader who just happened to be famous amputee pilot Douglas Bader!

According to her rendition of the story, his tin leg rusted and he had to have another one made. Though oddly enough-  this was mentioned in neither his book nor his film. Wikipedia is also oddly quiet about the whole debacle!

Me in a nutshell

I grew up in the midlands countryside and spent the majority of my childhood building treehouses, running round the local villages and picking fruit from hedgerows to make crumble.

During my teenage years I attended an all girls grammar school; meaning that being a feminist and feeling an inexplicable need to push for women’s rights was bred into me.

We studied the suffragettes on a yearly basis and I think the idea of women fighting for the right to have their say within the country is the fundamental reason I wanted to join the civil service.

I believe that my competitive and ambitious attitude was learnt at school, we were very much told from the beginning that we could do anything and to push to achieve our goals by whatever means necessary.

My role

I am currently in my first year on the Digital, Data and Technology Fast Stream, meaning my job role changes every 6 months for the first two years and once a year for the final two years.

I’m about to come to the end of my second placement working as a User Researcher and UX designer at the Office for National Statistics.

Day to day I work on the Census: testing questions, strategising how to target those unlikely to fill in the survey and working with the UX designers to manage the design of the Census website.

I love chatting to new people and collaborating with wider teams so I will be very sad to leave this job; however I am looking forward to taking on my new role as a Policy and Engagement Manager at the Department for International Trade.

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

Ideally I’d like the gender politics gap to close completely. From my experience it often seems that in a working environment women’s opinions and work seems to have less impact or standing than a man’s.

I have been in meetings where a woman has made a point based on facts and it has been ignored but ten minutes later a man has repeated her and it has been met with applauds.

I feel like we are definitely working toward this outcome but it is a slow process - it would be wonderful if I could just wave a wand and make it happen.

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