International Women's Day
To celebrate the achievements of women in social care, we asked inspirational women in our organisation to share what they are most proud of.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the achievements of women. Although social care is one of the few industries where women make up a large portion of the workforce, the care industry is often overlooked and the achievements of women in paid and unpaid care work aren’t always recognised.
Linda Mudenda - Support Worker and Acting Team Leader in Wakefield
"One of the reasons I began working in social care was because I wanted to play my part in improving care for people with support needs. There is nothing better than knowing that your presence can make someone happy, even from the smallest of gestures. The hugs and smiles from the people we support are so rewarding.
I have always been an advocate and I believe in fairness and equality. I am proud to be part of our organisation’s Diverse Voices’ group, which challenges and addresses issues faced by colleagues in the Black, Asian and minority ethnic community. Through this network and my support role, I am able to use my voice to advocate for others. This is very important to me.
In some ways, I have followed in my mum’s footsteps. Mum was a nurse who taught me the importance of having an education. From a small village in Zambia, Mum left home and worked in a mission school in exchange for her education, before becoming a matron at the University Hospital. Mum has been the person who has inspired me the most throughout my life.
My hope for the future, for women in social care, is that we are truly recognised and paid well for the highly-skilled and important work that we do."
Claire Bates - Founder of the Supported Loving network
"The national Supported Loving network promotes positive practice around sexuality for people with a learning disability and/or autism. I am proud of this, as the network started as an appraisal goal and has grown to over 1000 members. We have gained substantial media coverage, inspired several dating agencies and LGBTQ+ social groups, and have been influential in working with CQC and Skills for Care.
We have worked hard to raise awareness that sexuality and relationships are important to the people we work with, and we can see that things are changing. However, we know we still have far to go. Women with learning disabilities are more likely to experience sexual abuse and domestic violence. As a result, they are more ‘protected’ by those supporting them and less likely to be given opportunities to meet a partner and develop relationships.
I want more women with learning disabilities to receive support and education, so they can learn how to keep themselves safer and experience more of the freedoms that we all enjoy. I really admire our network member and champion, Sue Sharples, who runs the U-Night Group in Lancashire. Sue has worked in this field for a long time and never loses enthusiasm!"
To learn more about the Supported Loving network, please visit our website.
Sarah Maguire - CEO of Choice Support
"I started my career in social care as a support worker and over the years have worked in many different roles.
There are so many things I am proud of, but if I had to single out one thing, it has to be introducing Quality Checkers to Choice Support. Working alongside people with lived experience who have had their voice ignored for many years, helped me to see my work through a new human rights lens.
I am lucky to be surrounded by many talented female role models. Things have changed in social care, over the years, but it has not always been this way. As a woman, it took me a long time to understand that I am enough as I am. I don’t need to power dress or wear a suit to be heard. I don’t need to talk in a particular way to be listened to and I don’t need to compete on other people’s terms to get on. Being me and being authentic is what matters at the end of the day. I learnt this from two wise women who have inspired me in many ways – Dr Nan Carle Beauregard, social care consultant and co-founder of Choice Support and Sarah Battershall, Executive Director for United Response. They have reminded me of the power we have to make things happen and to always follow our, ‘North Star’. I hope we will see more women taking their place in diverse roles throughout social care, not the roles assigned for women, but ones that are their, ‘North Star’."
If you are passionate about supporting others and would like to learn more about working in social care, please visit our working for us page.