To celebrate International Women's Day 2021 RoSPA are profiling just some of the amazing women who work for and with us. Amy Brant, RoSPA’s Head of Driver Training, tell us about her experiences of working in health and safety:
" We always think we are safe and would not do anything to risk our lives or loved ones, but could we do more? Yes! There is so much more to think about in our perception of risk when we are involved in more detail and earlier on in our careers."
"My first experience of professional health and safety responsibilities within a leadership role came in 2009 and this changed my perception of ‘what is safe’."
“What I love most about what I do is the variety. I am fortunate to work within both the charity sector and the commercial sector; one is driven by financial gain and education, the other is driven by perception and people-listening skills, conversation rather than demand. One is driven by fast-paced quick decision-making, while the other must be patient and understanding of feelings and longer-term considerations."
Yet although those stigmas are attached to charity and commercial environments, what makes it so exciting is you can apply all of those qualities to both areas. In health and safety, regardless of your sector, it’s about communication and educating people. That is how we save lives. Life, free from serious accidental injury, is only achieved by people working with people! "
Overcoming barries and challenging sterotypes
“The challenge lies in reaching those that do not feel or believe in health and safety or opening the door to those that have an older outdated perception of health and safety as a red tape ‘fun sponge’. If we start young in school education, the culture of our health and safety will be second nature rather than a perception of what we believe it to be later on in life.
“Working directly in a health and safety environment has not led to feelings of difference with gender. However, mixing health and safety with driving and riding experience opens potholes of discrimination to a woman in a leading management role in an industry that is male-dominated. I have experienced a disregard for female decision-making, a lack of mutual respect, derogatory comments, abuse and a campaign of personal slander to prevent leadership being driven forward by a female.
“A behavioural trait I have had years of experience in witnessing is those wishing to instilling the belief in others of the perception of females lacking in capabilities within leadership roles. I have often been referred to as administration, a filer of paper work, PA, etc… which is saddening as these roles are the grass roots of all successful organisations."
"I once left a board room meeting and one individual stood up and faced the wall as I left to avoid the close of the meeting and shaking of hands, as shaking the hand of a female decision-maker was against his own beliefs."
"The above can sound negative and somewhat challenging, but how wonderful that our era can work at changing this mindset and open the door for more female opportunities in the future. A problem solved is a brighter future for our industry and for future successes.2
Amy's advice for women considering a career in health and safety
"My advice to women interested in getting involved in health and safety is to break down the barriers, always follow the career path and interests you want. The opportunities in health and safety careers are vast, as all industries require a remit of health and safety and the skillsets are wide and open. Imagine what you would love to do in your career and build in a section of your portfolio to be a health and safety champion. There are no restrictions in improving in any industry."
“Continue to challenge views of women in advertisements and social media posts. Images and perceptions for job roles should have multi-gender imagery, and this should be reflected and encouraged within school education and college/university years.”
This article has been kindly sponsored by L'Oréal, which is raising the profile of and increasing opportunities for women in health and safety throughout 2021.Developing the abilities of women as a currently underrepresented group in occupational health and safety (OSH) and enhancing their visibility in the sector is at the heart of the partnership between the two organisations. See: www.rospa.com/partnerships/loreal-partnership
Posted: 3/3/2021 4:44:47 PM