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RCT Council celebrating International Women’s Day

THIS International Women’s Day (8th March), Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is celebrating all its female employees and members and shining a light on a woman’s right to ‘choose to challenge’.

The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is ‘Choose To Challenge. A challenged world is an alert world. And from challenge comes change. So let’s all #ChooseToChallenge.

Nearly 75% of Council staff are female and we are working hard to ensure gender equality exists throughout the workforce and our gender pay gap has reduced every year for the last 3 years. We have proudly achieved a gender balance in our Cabinet with 4 female Portfolio holders,  while 34 of the 75 Elected Members are female.

On Thursday, 4th March, the Council held a virtual event for staff to celebrate International Women’s Day, which was opened by the Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Maureen Webber and discussed a range of topics including stereotyping, discrimination and women’s experiences at work.  The event was very well attended, with guest speaker Georgina Gilbert, a firefighter with South Wales Fire and Rescue with over twenty years’ experience, telling her story and delivering a session on breaking down barriers.  Georgina is also the co-founder of the Antarctic Fire Angels and is an inspirational speaker for Ordinary Extraordinary.

Chloe Davies, aged 20 from Aberdare, is one of the female employees within the RCT Council who is urging women to choose to challenge. Chloe is part of the Cynon Valley Streetcare, Refuse and Recycling collection crew. Chloe joined the crew in July in the middle of the pandemic as she wanted to help make a difference.

Chloe had previously helped in the Community Recycling Centres when the sites re-opened in May and was keen to continue helping residents to recycle.  Chloe is passionate about her role and has fitted into the collection team very well.

One of the benefits of the job for Chloe is that it gets her out and about and every day is different. Chloe is a keen hockey player for Dowlais and the role helps her to keep up her fitness levels – an average day sees Chloe walking an astonishing 40,000 steps, which is equivalent to around 16 miles!

Chloe said: “I was really pleased to take up this role and its great fun – It’s helped me to combine my passion for the environment and my passion for fitness. The team are great and every day is different. I know many women may not think this is a role for them but I say choose to challenge yourself and don’t dismiss it.  Its hard work, but I love it and fingers crossed I’ll be doing it for a long time in the future.”

Angela Bebb, aged 55 from Bridgend who joined the Council in 2016, has been choosing to challenge her whole career and has filled a number of male-dominated roles for over 30 years. Angela was previously a caretaker for 26 years before joining RCT Council as a Parks Ranger. Angela is now the dedicated grounds person at Pentre Park and is incredibly passionate about her role. Angela has been in her current role for 3 years and describes the role as the ‘best job she’s ever had’. As a grounds person, Angela is responsible for cutting the grass, maintaining the bowling green and 3G pitches, cutting the hedges, fertilising the soil and the daily overall maintenance of the area.

Angela said: “When I tell people what I do, sometimes people are surprised, but I say to any person, man or woman, that anyone can do it, surprise yourself and you may just land the job you’ve always wanted. What more can I ask for, I get to be outdoors and the work I do is incredibly rewarding and gives a lot of people joy. The role keeps me incredibly fit, its hard work, but I get a tremendous amount of pride for it.”

Councillor Maureen Webber, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Council Business, with responsibility for Equality and Diversity, said:

“International Women’s Day allows us to focus on being a woman and the amazing things we do every single day.

“We don’t always allow ourselves time to think but I’d like everyone to take the time to think about the difference women make, to your family, friends, work colleagues and communities.

“Let’s celebrate women, brave women everywhere who are inspiring others and trying to make the world a better place.

“We are lucky to have so many strong women employed in the Council who like Chloe and Angela ‘choose to challenge’ and are showing women that you can achieve your full potential in all that you choose to do. I am proud to be part of a balanced female and male Cabinet team and RCT can boast two female parliamentary representatives. Together we can all choose to challenge and help to keep changing our world for future generations.”

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