https://100years100women.blog.gov.uk/2018/11/15/georgia-swattridge/

Georgia Swattridge

A photo of Georgia with her mum and grandmother on a sunny holiday.

I am a feminist.

I am also Welsh, I am a Work Coach, I am a daughter, a granddaughter, a friend, a niece - the list goes on.

Sometimes it can feel that all of the things I am come secondary to my gender and my beliefs around that. In the workplace it has been proven that women have been overlooked, undermined and underestimated.

I was brought up in a household where as a family we respected each other regardless of gender, it wasn’t until I moved away from home that I realised the difference between my happy bubble and reality.

Being a woman, in the workplace, in 2018 is a huge deal. We are stronger than ever, we have more rights than ever and we have more confidence to stand up for ourselves.

My nan (to the right of the photograph) started in the civil service in 1952 when she was 16.

Whilst, by this time, the marriage bar had been lifted, she was forced to quit ten years later when she fell pregnant.

Equal pay for women was not introduced until 1961, and prior to this my nan remembers hearing about women using separate entrances to men, and the uproar when women got equal pay granted.

Even now I can feel the frustration when my nan tells me about the oppression she faced as a working woman all those years ago, and how her career was cut short simply because she wanted to start a family.

My mum (in the centre of the photo) joined the Civil Service in 1981. By that time things had improved, however when she had children she was expected by society to reduce her hours in order to balance a family and work, my dad will readily admit that these expectations were not put upon him in the same way.

Women make up 43% of Senior Civil Servants- this is HUGE!

To put it into perspective, the world average of female CEOs is 8%. I struggle to believe that there are only 8% of women in the world who do the job just as well as a man.

The Civil Service appears to be a shining beacon in leading the way, and together we can make it even better. There are still huge strides that we need to take in order to continue with our progress.

Let’s applaud other women when they get their promotions, let's encourage our friends to apply for a job, especially when they have doubts over their ability to achieve within.

I recently listened to a podcast that stated statistics around men applying for jobs. The bottom line was that generally women are laced with self-doubt, this is usually sewn into young girls and they grow up with it.

Men, however, are doused with self-confidence which means they apply for the jobs without questioning their ability to do it, regardless of whether they have the tools to achieve.

As women, we can take a spoonful of that self confidence everyday, build each other up, appreciate your female colleague’s intelligence and curiosity, educate our children and our friend’s children on equality and why it matters.

As Michelle Obama once said "As women, we must stand up for each other." We’ve seen how far that sentiment has got us, now we need to go all the way.

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