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IWD2024: An interview with Lisa Winward

International Women’s Day (8 March) serves as a poignant reminder to pause and acknowledge outstanding women in the justice sector, recognising the diversity and unique perspectives they bring to the workforce.

This year’s theme of ‘Inspire Inclusion’ resonates deeply with North Yorkshire Police Chief Constable, and The Workforce Development Trust board member, Lisa Winward, who has been a strong advocate for fostering inclusivity throughout her time with the force. We asked Lisa about her experiences and perspectives on women in policing.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? And why do you feel it is important that we celebrate it?

International Women’s Day is a great reminder to stop and reflect on the exceptional women in our society and take the time to celebrate the diversity and difference they bring to all aspects of our life and work.

This year’s theme is ‘Inspire Inclusion’. In your role, tell us a bit about how you support this aim.

Inspiring inclusion is about creating a pro inclusive environment for all, whoever they are, and valuing their individuality. I have supported this aim in policing by always respecting every single person I come into contact with and by always being my true self even if that does not fit in with a stereotype that others expect.

Do you think there are enough opportunities for women?

Policing has embraced opportunities for women more than ever, but there is more to do. We still need to encourage more women through role models and encouragement and recognition of their valued skills to apply for roles where they are not yet fully represented.

How can we bring issues around gender bias to light?

We must talk openly and honestly about the challenges and the bias we see around us and talk about it without fear of reprisals or accusations of discrimination.

Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?

Research and experience are compelling that a diverse workforce is a happier, more productive and effective place to work and delivers better outcomes. Particularly in public service, we want to deliver the best possible service to our communities and diversity will enable us to do this more effectively.

Share with us a woman that inspires you most, or quote that inspires you most.

The quote that inspires me most is by Maya Angelou “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.