Farewell to co-director JackieWritten by The Young Women's Movement
Another year ends, a new one begins. At the close of 2016 we say farewell to co-director Jackie, who is retiring – we wish her well. Here, Jackie reflects upon work, feminism and her hopes for the future.
Why did you get involved with women’s rights?
I was inspired by the second wave of feminism, specifically by reading The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer when I was in my teens. It felt amazing that there was a whole tribe of women feeling the same anger! I then got involved in developing and promoting women’s studies as a subject in colleges and universities with a group of feminists in London. Our slogan was “the personal is political” and I still believe and live by that.
What would you consider a highlight of your career?
It felt a real privilege to find myself working with YWCA Scotland at a point in my career where I could offer a great deal of experience of organisational leadership and change matched with my deeply held feminist principles and values. It’s been fantastic working with women of all ages in the movement to re-ignite our 160 year old organisation for the 21st century. It’s a highlight to be able to retire and hand over the lead to a young woman under 30 who will confidently take it forward into the next phase. Throughout my career, I have seen it as important to challenge the structures that privilege men over women so I have worked to redefine leadership and to support and mentor other women, rather than join the “boys club” which exists in every sector of work.
You’ve campaigned for change for years now, and sadly we don’t always get the results we want – how have you combatted emotional fatigue?
I’ve been a champion of change all my life. Sometimes it’s hard but I couldn’t accept the status quo even when tired. I guess my antidote to burn out is having strong female friendships where we support each other and know each other well.
We pride ourselves on YWCA Scotland being an intergenerational movement, what does that mean for you?
I feel inspired by the optimism of younger women and their determination to break through the glass ceilings. I think it’s important to listen to and learn from each other. I’ve learned masses from working with younger women and have shared my books, ideas and experiences with the women I work with.
What is the first thing you will do on your first day off work?
Enjoy a good book, a long walk and dinner with a friend.
What piece of wisdom do you believe every young woman needs to know?
That women’s space is a place of strength and support.
What book do you believe every young feminist should read?
Mary Daly’s Gyn/Ecology
What will you miss the most about working for the YWCA?
The commitment that unites us, and the great team spirit.
One of our highlights of intergenerational working has been exploring social media together across different generations of women within the YWCA movement. Call us biased, but Jackie is now a Twitter pro! Keep in touch with her on Twitter @jackie_scutt. We look forward to hearing what you get up to in the near future, Jackie, keep in touch!