What’s important to women and particularly to me as a woman? By Tracy Jones

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Womens-day-social-posts-FINAL2-850x445.jpg
International Women’s Day

When I sat down to write this blog I spent a long time thinking about what I would write, it got me thinking about what’s important to women and particularly to me as a woman, and I began to ask myself – am I a feminist? It’s not something I have really considered until now… unfortunately the word feminist can still have a negative connotation but I am proud to say “yes I am; I care about issues that matter to women and want to work to improve on the work already done by women who have campaigned for us”.

As new mum in my early 20’s I remember the first time I experienced discrimination. I was interviewed and selected as one of the final two candidates for a HR Advisor role in a large local business, during what I thought to begin with was a positive second interview, I was asked how I would react to the men in the factory giving me “attention”, and also how would I cope having a baby and a full time job.. needless to say I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t get the job and although at the time I was upset and disappointed when the agency told me that a male got the job over me, I now look back and am grateful that I didn’t get it; Why would I want to work in an organisation like that and what would it have felt like to be one of its employees? I hope things have moved on since then and I’m sure they have in the main.

Throughout my career so far I’ve worked hard to overcome barriers; balancing my responsibilities as a mum with completing qualifications and working hard to secure promotions. I have been really lucky to have people around me that have supported me, however it’s been difficult; physically and emotionally. At times I’ve struggled, lack of sleep, doing a full time job in part time hours, feeling guilty for staying at work late or on the other hand for having time away from work to take care of children; all things you might argue most parents deal with… but I wonder are men impacted in the same way?

We all know and accept that women and men differ physically and mentally; people often joke about the differences in our emotional needs, however these differences alongside social and environmental factors make it essential to think more deeply about how we support women.  Women are more likely to suffer with low confidence and regularly experience imposter syndrome, the challenge for managers and employers is how can we do things differently to support these needs in a more fundamental way. We are definitely committed and equipped to do more in the NHS.

Today I chaired the first Women’s Network meeting at Yeovil Hospital and I was truly inspired –  the conversations and thoughts were considered proactive and represented a true desire to support other women across the organisation. There was a focus on how we can develop and support each other and we made a great start thinking about how the group can take forward proactive suggestions to support, inspire and develop women at Yeovil Hospital.

As I sat down this evening to put my two daughters to bed I listened to a story with them on CBeebies. They are too young to realise but the story was about a group of girls and it had a clear message about International Women’s day: “It’s important that we support each other during the good times, but it’s especially important that we build each other up and guide each other during the difficult times”, that’s certainly the feeling I got today when talking with our new Women’s network, and I can’t wait to get started on our work.

Happy International Women’s day!

Tracy, Deputy Director of HR and OD

PS. There is still time to join the network, please email me to find out more: tracy.jones@ydh.nhs.uk

If you would like to start a network at Yeovil Hospital for staff with a shared interest, please email Emma Symonds and she will provide advice and support, Emma.Symonds@ydh.nhs.uk