International Women’s Day 2023-Who Inspires You?
We have been asked to talk about women who inspire us for International Women’s Day and I thought this year I’d do something a little different….
I am not talking about someone famous or from my personal life. Instead I am telling you about why women I come across through my job inspire and amaze me every day. As a solicitor dealing with care proceedings I see the less pleasant side of life. By definition every case involves children who have suffered or are at risk of serious harm. We come across women who have failed their children, putting their addictions or their relationships with risky men above the needs of their children.
International Women’s Day – Inspirational Women
I come into contact with grandmothers, aunts, older sisters and other family members who step in to care for the children, sometimes at short notice, turning their lives upside down. Many of these women give up their jobs, reduce their hours, or cancel their retirement plans. They step in to give the children a home, often at considerable emotional and financial cost, and with scrutiny of their lives by Social Services and the Court. There are huge numbers of kinship carers in the UK, doing a fantastic job to keep children out of foster care.
I am also inspired by some of the foster carers who go above and beyond what is expected, and what they are paid to do. They change children’s lives. I always remember a foster carer I met many many years ago in Tamworth. She was a single parent who had fostered dozens of children. She fostered a 6 week old baby who was subjected to a horrific assault by her Dad and had been left severely brain damaged. 18 years later when I met her she was still providing 24 hour care to this child, and had arranged for her adult children to continue to meet this young person’s very considerable needs after her own death. These are the real heroes living amongst us.
I am sometimes inspired by the mothers I act for. They are at the worst point in their lives, usually having had their children taken into care. Many of them have made mistakes and some have had extremely difficult childhoods for a variety of reasons. They often lack the family support that most of us take for granted. I am impressed by the ability of some of these women just to simply keep on going every day, and to move on from their difficulties and turn their lives around.
Every day I see professionals who go above and beyond, including our Judges, other lawyers, social workers, Guardians and others. Our work is not easy and takes an emotional toll and when I’m having a tough day I am inspired by the women I work with and for.