To mark International Women's Day 2021 we are profiling just some of the amazing women who work for and with us. Rebecca Needham, RoSPA’s Road Safety Officer for England, tell us how her career developed since graduating:
“I joined RoSPA the week after I graduated from university. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I did know that I’d love to work for a charity. I saw a research and evaluation officer role, which tied in with my love for research and making a difference and I’ve never looked back!
“As I was only 21 when I joined RoSPA and it was my first full time role, confidence was a real issue for me. It seemed very daunting being a young female with little experience in a male-dominated industry.
“I’ve worked really hard to understand the policy context and sat back and done a lot of listening early in my career. I never would have believed that those people I was once nervous to speak in front of would value my opinion as a subject matter expert!
“I love the variety that health and safety offers, and that it offers so many opportunities. In the morning I can be in a radio interview and by the afternoon I could be analysing some data or writing a research paper. I thrive on being challenged and feel really thankful that I am in a role I love where every single day is different."
“I am really pleased to say that I don’t think I have ever been treated differently by colleagues or other professionals in my role just because I am a woman.
At times I’ve had the odd very limp handshake or felt a bit overlooked and I’ve been subjected to the occasional sexist remark on the phone assuming that I make a few hot drinks and shuffle a bit of paper around but I don’t really take much notice!
“I think we need to break down the perception that health and safety is a male-dominated industry. It’s important that we promote the visibility of women in the industry and use images of women in social media content, etc. I think we can learn a lot from other industries, such as engineering and science, who have had a big push on women joining the sector.
“My advice to any woman who would like to be involved in health and safety is to go for it. I’m a big advocate of working hard to follow the career path you wish to, regardless of your sex.
I think it’s really inspiring that so many women are now in leadership roles in health and safety. There are so many different kinds of roles in the sector that suit people with all different kinds of skillsets.”
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: 3/4/2021 11:12:35 AM