I joined SIS less than five years ago hoping to find something significant and meaningful – something that didn’t include making the 1% richer, but made me feel a bit better morally and ethically. SIS had been recommended to me, so I did the test on the website and finally applied.
My first team in SIS was all male until one other female joined me, but those men were nurturing mentors and completely supportive: they enabled me to progress confidently across skills and areas of knowledge I’d never had before, and now I’m working to specialise in those skills supported by the Service, and study for professional qualifications.
I became heavily involved in diversity and inclusion work inside the Service two years ago but my gender equality activity spans back far before I joined SIS. I’m currently the most junior co-Chair of SIS’s gender equality network; my experience from outside the office is recognised as far more relevant than my junior grade. As a network, we tackle various issues: sponsor mentoring; professional development; and training courses specifically for female officers of any grade.
Alongside this, the Service advocates support for mental health, religion, BAME, LGBT+ and disabilities. We’re becoming inclusive naturally and setting standards to ensure people are treated fairly and equally – sadly not something you’ll find in all other places. In the last quarter of 2018, SIS saw an increase in female, LGBT and BAME officers, as well as part-time and/or flexible working from both men and women. Getting the work-life balance right is important and the Service can support you to do that. All kinds of things are changing in SIS; it’s not what you might think.