Women's History Month - Simone's Story | Our blog

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The Maudsley Blog

Women's History Month - Simone's Story

For our final Women’s History Month blog, we interviewed Simone Myers, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead for our services in Lewisham, on proudly representing the service at the staff awards and the positive action we need to take to mobilise women to effect change. 

I joined the Trust in 2008 as a Vocational Specialist having always been passionate about supporting all patients to achieve their goals and aspirations – whatever their starting point. 

Despite the stigma of mental health illness and other systemic barriers they faced, I have always greatly admired patients who overcame these through our work together. 

In this role and as a team leader, my enthusiasm for addressing existing inequalities for our patients and within the workforce has significantly increased; and my role as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead means I can hopefully inspire others to be part of the transformational change that is needed. 

Reflecting on my career within the Trust, I am thankful not to have experienced any inequalities myself nor any challenges directly related to my gender.  

However, I am very aware of the challenges, barriers and inequalities that still exist for women, particularly for those from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds. 

This was backed up by last year’s Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) report which showed improvement is still needed for these members of staff. 

However, it has been positive to be part of the work that is currently taking place across the Trust to reduce these workforce inequalities, through the development of our local and Trust-wide Anti-Racism Action Plans

And having a staff award for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is essential as hopefully it will encourage more growth in this area. 

I was delighted to be nominated for the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion staff award this year alongside such super nominees; and the win has been a real highlight in my career at the Trust. 

I mainly felt proud that I was representing the Lewisham and Addictions Directorate and that there was recognition for the fantastic work that staff here are doing to reduce health inequalities for service users from racially minoritised groups and to address racism within the workforce.  

For me, it’s always been about creating space for staff to talk about the barriers that prevent inclusion.  

Encouraging these conversations can be difficult but they are necessary as they help inform what we can do together to make changes.  

I also ensure that staff at all levels are involved in working together to develop and implement initiatives, to make decisions and to take action to create a culture that appreciates diverse perspectives. 

But we still have a long way to go especially around promoting gender equality.   

Despite our workforce being predominantly female, the annual Gender Pay Gap report 2022/23 continues to show that women are disproportionately affected, with a higher number of males being in the upper pay range within senior and strategic roles.   

So, I am delighted that the Trust aims to address this in its own ranks but, for now, I think we should continue to raise the profile of women in the Trust by celebrating their strengths and achievements.  

Learning about the journeys of other women is empowering; it can start to make us feel more confident to take on new challenges, and mobilise us to come together to effect change. 

We should also continue to use our Women’s Network to mentor and empower women to achieve their full career potential, and in doing so we are creating pathways for younger women coming up the ranks. 

My advice to women entering the healthcare sector is don’t hold back! Embrace every opportunity to learn, develop and achieve their goals. And don’t be put off by the challenges of the industry, as navigating your way through these will help you progress. 

Speak up, be visible! By taking responsibility for shaping your own career you’ll be paving the way for other women too. 

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