Inspirational Women

There are already many amazing women who are helping to shape Wales and the UK in a number of ways; as Public Appointees, Trustees of charities, Board members of public and private organisations and alongside volunteering there are also some inspirational role models working to further the equality of opportunity in public life.

We wanted to highlight the journey these women have made towards success to show that barriers can be overcome and inspire more women to take steps to achieving a public appointment themselves.

If you are or know of a woman who is an inspiration to others get in touch so that we can share your story.

Dr Alison Parken

Alison JPEG copyAlison is a Senior Research Fellow at Cardiff University and is currently the Project Director for 'Women Adding
Value to the Economy' (WAVE), a European Social Fund project part funded through the Welsh Government.

She has offered expert advice on mainstreaming equality in social and economic policy to National Assembly for Wales committees, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Welsh Government and European Institute for Gender Equality.

Alison has worked in the voluntary and public sector in Wales for 12 years in a variety of research and equality focused roles, including being the first Director of Stonewall Cymru.

Alison's motivation has always been to fight against inequality and injustice. "It can be inadvertently transposed, through social and economic policies, from one generation to the next when policy making assumes that everyone is the same and can make the same choices about education, employment, or where and how to live their lives."

Alison loves working with other people, debating, and tackling the sometimes difficult topics around inequalities. "The most important and enjoyable time is when we can find ways through changing practice, policy or services and systems that make improvement in people's lives now, and prevent the same old inequalities from reinventing themselves in other ways."

When asked about the barriers to women in public life, Alison comments "Women still need to work harder, bring more evidence, and be more persuasive in order to convince others that change for the better can be made. Women need to find innovative, unthreatening ways of doing things differently from the accepted, unquestioned 'norms', and learn to live with the disappointments. If progress isn't made – find another way!"

Professor Teresa Rees has been a great source of inspiration for Alison. "With her advisory work to the European Commission on gender mainstreaming in the 1990s, she encouraged me to extend this thinking to the diversity of women, and bring that thinking to policy audiences."

Alison's advice to you is "Do your research, but also bring your experience to bear on public life – different voices are needed!"

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