Our Chief Operating Officer reveals who has been an inspiration on International Women’s Day

Chief Operating Officer Kate Still is an inspirational woman working in one of the most senior roles at WM Housing Group and for International Women’s Day she revealed there are two women who have inspired her.

This year the theme of the day is Balance for Better – which is encouraging gender equality in the work place.

Kate says one of her biggest inspirations is her mum, who was a single parent with two small children at the age of 33 and no income.

Kate says: “She worked three jobs and trained as a teacher at the same time.

“She eventually became a special needs teacher, is a talented published writer and musician.

“She also cared for my grandmother for 15 years when she was in the throes of advanced dementia, visiting her every day during that time even though she didn’t recognise her for many years.”

She says her mum’s personal resilience and care for others is a daily example.

Kate is also inspired by another woman, Lydia, who lives in Kenya and looks after her granddaughter with cerebral palsy.

Lydia’s daughter abandoned Natasha at birth.

Kate says: “Despite her own significant health problems which means she cannot work, Lydia carried her granddaughter on her back for up to 6 miles a day as she had no wheelchair.

“They live in a hut with no electricity and Natasha has to sleep on the floor.

“There is no health and welfare system in Kenya. She is an inspiration to me, and we now financially support Lydia and Natasha as a family to make sure she gets the healthcare support she needs.

Whenever I think life is tough, I think of Lydia and have a word with myself.”

Kate, who has worked for WM Housing Group since 2017, insists that the gender balance is essential for everyone – not just women.

She says: “The systems that keep women supressed so often also have an impact on the expectations and behaviours of men too.

“Creating a workplace where people are allowed to be their true selves is good for everyone, free of stereotypes.”

Kate says that it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day as the abilities of women need to be recognised.

She adds: “The day is much needed recognition of the incredible capacity and abilities that are so often taken for granted.

“It’s also a reminder that many women around the world are still systematically discriminated against, abused and neglected – and we must all fight for that injustice.”