Kate, Patrick and I wanted to include as wide a variety as possible of women’s voices and stories – and the ten women who took part in the project worked in many different roles throughout Senate House, ranging from librarians, programmers and catering staff to academics, cleaners and students.
Participants included SOAS Director Valerie Amos, who recalled how she had left her job as Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission without having a new post to go to – "the hardest thing for me was working out what I was going to tell my mother!" She then reflected on advice to pass onto the next generation:
I tell them to have courage, and that it’s important to embrace risk, and to make mistakes. Although I’ll fess up that I hate making mistakes! But I know that I grow from them... And I tell them to be good to themselves. And to understand that asking for support is not a weakness.
Catering Supervisor Linda Wotodjo-Uwoloh remembered the elation she felt on getting her first paycheck after beginning her job:
"This job changed my life – because when I started here, I got a sense of freedom, when I got my first salary… I started understanding that…I could wake up in the morning and start doing something for myself, without asking anyone else for any financial help."