International Women’s Day – Women at GK
On International Women’s Day 2021 we are celebrating all the wonderful women that work at Greener Kirkcaldy. Our chair of the board Christine, our chief executive Suzy, our office manager Dianne and our Communications and Engagement Team Manager Lauren had a discussion over Zoom which you can view below. There are also thoughts from our Active Travel and Development Worker Susan and our Energy Advisor Rosie.
You will see clips from a discussion a couple of weeks ago and read some views from some who couldn’t attend the recording.
Firstly we started talking about if your opinion on inequality and discrimination in the workplace had changed over the years.
Our Chief Executive Suzy then spoke about if having women on the management team was deliberate or just happened.
Were they any negative challenges you faced in the workplace?
Susan – Once having children, I was clear that I did not want to work full-time, as I wanted to spend more time with my children when they were young. At the time, I was working for Sustrans, a charity that were very flexible about the hours they offered staff returning to work after maternity leave. Unfortunately, my contract finished shortly afterwards, and I was faced with the task of trying to find a part-time job that fitted around childcare.
This was challenging, as the vast majority of environmental jobs in the third sector (which is where I wanted to work) are full-time. Most part-time jobs are sessional, meaning that the hours change regularly, so are incompatible with regular childcare.
I ended up working in Edinburgh, in a job that fitted well with childcare and allowed me to work from home one day/week, but involved commuting for 1hr 20mins each way on the days I did go into the office.
Rosie – As a single mother in receipt of benefits I experienced discrimination from many people. There was an assumption that I would always be a single mother who was unskilled uneducated on benefits for the rest of my life but I knew I was capable of more regardless of what others thought of me. I empowered myself to look for a learning opportunity to prove to myself that I could achieve something regardless of my gender or social status. I found an evening class and signed up for it, this became the pivotal point in my life.
Attending this class was difficult, the majority of participants were male senior workers for a large organisation. Including myself, there were only three females and they were professional women working for the same organisation as the male participants. As you can imagine judgements were made regarding my gender, appearance, clothes, education, income and my social status.
In a nutshell, the majority of participants were unwelcoming to me. I could have just accepted that I had nothing to offer and left the course but I didn’t, something inside of me reminded myself that I deserved the same opportunity as everyone else so I persevered. Over a third of the participants dropped out but I continued on the course and qualified.
What is the difference between Greener Kirkcaldy or this sector than other places?
Message to the younger generation?
Rosie – The lessons learned from this were yes I am a woman and yes my circumstances were not as favourable as others but I was as good as and equal to every other human being and deserved the same opportunities in life. Following this, I went on to college and then university I worked hard and earned my degree. I then pursued a career in the third sector which I enjoy to this day. My two beautiful girls are adults now and have pursued their own career paths. Through empowering myself as a woman I empowered my children as they grew up to follow their dreams and never give up.
The message I want to send to all you lovely ladies is if you want it, go get it and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not good or intelligent enough or that your place is in the home unless that’s where you choose to be. Yes; you are a Woman a mother, gran, sister, daughter, friend etc. but you can be so much more. Women are capable of extraordinary things, empower yourself and others and remember small steps lead to big changes.
What is a positive thing about working at Greener Kirkcaldy as a woman?
Susan – Over the past year, I have hugely appreciated how supportive Greener Kirkcaldy has been of me changing my hours to fit around childcare, based on whether or not the schools and nurseries are open, if the childminders are open, etc. As my children are still young, working whilst looking after them would not have been a viable option. If Greener Kirkcaldy hadn’t allowed me to adapt my hours as needed, it is likely that I would have needed to leave my job.
You can watch the full recording of our chat here.
Also, you can read a blog from our Energy team about Women Working in Energy.|