Interview : Emma Miller-McCaffrey, Diversity Champion
Emma is currently working two days a week as the HBT Bullying Schools Trainer for charity MermaidsUK, delivering government funded training to teachers and staff in order for them to create an inclusive atmosphere in schools with a focus on Gender Identity. She also undertakes their corporate training where time allows. Aside from this, she is an independent Diversity & Inclusion Trainer, working with Greater Manchester Police as part of their D66 project to raise the awareness of frontline officers to the LGBT community and same-sex domestic abuse. She has previously worked as a Secondary School Teacher and as the Training Coordinator for Broken Rainbow. She has recently moved to Surrey with her wife, Ann, and their black and white cat Shane.
How would you describe yourself in five words?
Passionate, loved, enthusiastic, friendly and accepting.
Looking back, what is the best piece of advice you would give yourself at the start of your career?
To always believe in your ability. I have come up against many hurdles throughout the changes in my career journey but having faith in myself is certainly something I have only recently learnt and wish I’d known at the beginning!
What more can organisations do to help women get ahead?
I think it is as simple as treating them as equals! We all have our differences as human beings, and thank goodness as otherwise the world would be a very dull place, but let those be positives in the workplace rather than something to hold someone back with.
“Men who see women as equals in the workplace and who are willing to stand up for their female colleagues are vital to help support a change in a working atmosphere where this may not be the case.”
How important are men in achieving gender equality in our workplaces and beyond?
I think they are very important. It always helps, in any situation, to have allies willing to stand by your side and support you in your journey. Men who see women as equals in the workplace and who are willing to stand up for their female colleagues are vital to help support a change in a working atmosphere where this may not be the case.
Have you ever experienced gender bias or prejudice during your career?
I honestly don’t think I have faced any more or less bias for being a female as I have experienced as being a gay woman and once ‘officially’ out at the age of 23 I have never let anyone stop me from doing what I wanted to do.
How important do you think it is that we have visible diverse role models in our workplaces?
Very. Without role models at every rung of the career ladder there is nothing for future generations to look up to and see that who they are as a person, as an individual, will not stop them from achieving what it is they want from career life, but instead enhance it.
“Without role models at every rung of the career ladder there is nothing for future generations to look up to and see that who they are as a person, as an individual, will not stop them from achieving what it is they want from career life, but instead enhance it.”
Did you have a role model growing up?
I did and she still is someone I admire very much. For me Ellen DeGeneres is someone I look up to as a woman and as a member of the LGBT community. She is always doing what she can to support and help others, always speaking out for what she believes in and uses her celebrity status always for good, regardless of how others may have treated her.
Who is your campaigning hero?
For me this isn’t a woman but a man – Harvey Milk. Milk was a visionary civil and human rights leader who became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He was then subsequently assassinated just short of a year into office. Throughout his time campaigning he was never apologetic for who he was and always spoke up for the rights of others who weren’t given a voice – something I aspire to do myself.
Do you think workplace network groups have the power to influence positive changes in our workplaces and communities?
Yes. Simply because a group of people is always more likely to effect change than an individual. It is also a positive way to help others feel empowered when they can see a whole group of people all wanting to work towards achieving the same goal.
“Throughout his time campaigning he was never apologetic for who he was and always spoke up for the rights of others who weren’t given a voice – something I aspire to do myself.”
What is your personal network group highlight?
For this I would have to say being surrounded by so many inspirational people who are all role models in their own rights across a whole spectrum of the wonderful world we live in.
What are you most proud of in your career and personally?
In my current career path, I am most proud of independently delivering LGBT Awareness and Domestic Abuse training to the whole of Greater Manchester Police’s divisional frontline officers as part of a groundbreaking project that will see GMP become the first, and currently only force, to monitor same-sex domestic abuse using a specific coding system known as the D66. This information will enable the local authorities to provide the right level of targeted support for the specific needs relating to this crime and will also help towards capturing statistical information that can be used to help National LGBT services.
In my personal life it would most definitely be marrying my best friend, my soul mate and now my gorgeous wife, Ann, back in November 2016.
Is there a motto or quote that means a lot to you?
Everything happens for a reason. It means so much to me that I have it tattooed on the right side of my rib cage! (Yes it hurt, a lot!)
KEEP CONNECTED WITH EMMA :
8th March is International Women’s Day. The day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and puts the spotlight on the global action needed to accelerate gender parity. Find out more at www.internationalwomensday.com
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