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TGt Meets...Catherine Goss from Swindon Theatres - IWD

March 8th is International Women’s Day – and the theme this year is #BreakTheBias. Catherine Goss breaks the bias and answers some interesting IWD questions...

Who are you and what do you do? 

Catherine Goss, Marketing & Sales Manager for Swindon Theatres (Wyvern Theatre & Swindon Arts Centre).

If you are a woman in business – has your gender worked positively or negatively for you?

There is a definite discrepancy between the behaviours that a man could demonstrate without negative consequence (and sometimes even exploit) and those seen as acceptable for women. Outspokenness, assertion and even anger are ways of behaving that seem to be judged differently when coming from a man.

I have definitely caused some of my (previous!) colleagues to feel that I am aggressive, awkward, or disruptive when holding a reasoned but determined position. Possibly because I can be bloody awkward and will fight my corner if I think that something isn’t right or fair (don’t poke the bear!), and that isn’t consistent with how women are stereotypically meant to behave.

Can you share details of three women – famous, alive or not – who inspire you?

Dolly Parton - while she may be most known for her music, she has undoubtedly proven herself to be an incredible leader and humanitarian through her generosity, humility, inclusiveness, expertise and passion. Her Imagination Library has delivered more than 165 million books to children around the world, she donated $1 million towards the development of the Moderna vaccine and employees at Dollywood who pursue a college degree will have their tuition, associated fees and books 100% covered by the theme park.

Jacinda Ardern – has been New Zealand’s Prime Minister through an earthquake, terrorist attack and Covid and shines as a genuine, caring and modern leader. She role-models being kind, humble and consistent. She keeps herself on the same level as those she leads, makes consistent decisions based on a clear set of values and inspires trust. She embraces diversity and roots for solidarity, focuses on ‘we’, not ‘I’, and is aware of her strengths, but also acknowledges her weaknesses. Leaders who look like they are in control and make electors feel safe while at the same time coming across as relatable and personable appeal to voters – and hopefully make the world (or at least your bit of the world) a better place.

Shonda Rhimes - best known as the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder (and so many more great programmes). She was the first African American woman to create and executive produce a Top 10 network series and literally dominates prime time tv. She creates complex and brilliant characters; headstrong women that turn into role models for female viewers and diverse audiences. Through her storytelling she tackles powerful topics such as race and sexuality; stories which literally have you laughing one minute and crying the next – all of which though make you stop and think. She generates impact and influence through television.

Can you share details of three women in business in your circles who inspire you?

Laura James, Theatre Director for Swindon Theatres – Laura is an exceptional leader (although she won’t believe it!) daily she demonstrates integrity, accountability, empathy, humility, resilience, vision, influence, and positivity. She is kind, fiercely loyal, makes time and actively listens, always says thank you and acknowledges the hard work of colleagues, is genuinely hilarious and……most importantly never leaves you hanging on a high five!

Total Guides very own Rachael Matwiejczyk-Booth – what can I say that you all don’t all already know?! Rachael is an absolute powerhouse; she is always full of energy and positivity. She is hugely supportive, always asking ‘What do you need?’ and ‘How can we help?’ – and I know if she can’t get it for me then she will know someone who can (she literally knows EVERONE!). I always feel energised after catching up with Rachael – thank you!

Tigz Rice, Boudoir, Burlesque and vintage pinup photographer – Tigz is a kick-ass female photographer who helps fearless women and non-binary badasses feel empowered, confident and unapologetically present in both their personal and professional adventures. Amongst her many business achievements, she won the bronze medal in the Independent Publishing Awards 2020 for her book STRIP|TEASE. She also runs the Facebook group Boudoir By Tigz Rice, an empowering community where bodies of all shapes, genders, sizes and ethnicities are celebrated for their strength and beauty. I met Tigz in my previous job when she came along to take production photos for the Summer Youth Project – a genuinely great human.

Can you share details of three women close to you who inspire you?

So, this is tough to reduce to just three! I’m very lucky to have a lot of great women throughout my life who have supported and inspired me. I’m going to pick my FOUR Aunties, all of which were strong, independent, and inspirational women:

One was put into service at a young age, she joined the auxiliary fire service (to learn to drive for free) rode a motorbike at a time ‘young ladies’ where not supposed to, worked in a male dominated car industry and was one of the first single women to secure a mortgage and buy a house on her own.

Another auntie sadly lost a baby at full term, a very taboo topic and not something she probably ever had the opportunity to deal with. She adored her other child and did all she could to support his additional educational needs.

Another persuaded her Mum to let her join the Army at 16, she travelled the world, was one of only two women in her Parachute regiment and then worked for the MOD.

And the other auntie married an Army man and also travelled the world. She was an incredible seamstress and supported herself in later life. She was fiercely loyal and would drop everything to help if you needed it – but if you crossed her……

What do you think can be done to really #breakthebias?

It’s literally ingrained in all of us from such a young age that actually breaking the bias seems impossible. Education, understanding, acceptance of your own bias and the ongoing strive for change and fairness – we have to work on all of these.

Are you doing anything at all to mark IWD 2022? 

Attending Total Guide’s International Women’s Day event at the Wyvern Theatre.

Find out more about Swindon Theatres HERE!

Wyvern Theatre Swindon

Wyvern Theatre Swindon

Wyvern Theatre Swindon offers an excellent mixed programme of concerts, comedy, dance, drama, musical theatre and local amateur productions.

Theatre Square, Swindon, SN1 1QN

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