Q&A: President of Equity UK Lynda Rooke on women’s leadership

Bristol Women’s Commission’s panel for International Women’s Day 2023 celebrations at city hall explored women’s leadership featuring a range of local leaders, including president of Equity UK Lynda Rooke. Here she shares some of her views on women’s leadership.

How did you get to where you are today?

I was elected and have worked as a volunteer activist in the Trade Union movement for decades. Sheer determination actually.

What do you think makes a good leader?

Calmness, a supporting but firm attitude but don’t be wanting to always be liked; you need a thick skin at times. Expect to be patronised if you have a regional accent.

What’s been your biggest challenges as a woman?

I’m freelance, self employed and work as an actor, the precairity of my job alongside of putting your head over the parapet can be career-threatening.

What advice would you give to aspiring female leaders?

Be brave, be proud of yourself, ignore those who patronise you or talk down, your are never too young and also never too old, take strength from the positives. Seek support from like-minded women, find a mentor.

What women leaders inspire you and why?

I admire Michelle Obama and yes, she wasn’t the President but hey, she’d be great, also any women leaders of trade unions because it’s still a very male environment in fact any women activists. Barbara Castle was always somebody I looked up to. I have a group of strong women allies I’m linked with in Bristol: Fair Play SW is a source of inspiration any day of the week.

Bristol Women’s Commission brings together partners, including Avon & Somerset Police, to identify and tackle issues impacting women and girls. With women’s representation task forces running campaigns in the past, this focus now crosses a range of groups – from women in business to women and girls’ education. Find out more about the work of the Commission here.

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