Today (Friday 8 March) is International Women’s Day (IWD). To mark this, we are shining a light on women who work in Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership and their achievements. The theme for this year’s IWD is ‘Inspiring Inclusion’. You can find out more about IWD and inspiring inclusion on the international women’s day website.

We spoke to Lynn Forrest, a One Edinburgh Review Manager. We found out more about her inspiring career in health care and what it means to her to inspire inclusion.

Lynn, tell us about your career so far?

I have worked in the care sector for around 35 years, firstly at the Royal Victoria Hospital where I worked for 12 years as an Auxiliary Nurse in a long-term psychiatric ward. This is mainly where my interest in adult care began. From there I moved on to work as a social care worker. Moving from role to role within the EHSCP, I now currently oversee the One Edinburgh Review team. This has been a great opportunity to expand my skills and knowledge.

My journey hasn’t been an easy one, especially being told later in life I was dyslexic. I have come to appreciate the unique strengths that dyslexia has brought into my life, and it has never stopped me developing throughout my career. From completing my HNC in Health and Social Care, SVQ Level three and four, to receiving my Professional Development Award and my Social Work Honours Degree.

I have been married for 34 years and have two children, Dayle 30 and Michael 27. I am the main carer for my mother who has Alzheimer’s and is 93 years young. In my spare time I enjoy reading, talking (quite a lot), walking and travelling.

What does inspiring inclusion mean to you?

Thinking about my own life experience and what inspiring inclusion means to me, I would love to create an environment where every individual feels valued, respected, and empowered. I would like to continue to foster a culture of openness, acceptance, and understanding, where differences are celebrated rather than seen as barriers. I think it’s about actively seeking out each individual voice, so they feel heard.

Tell us about a particular project where you felt you inspired inclusion?

When front line staff asked me if it would be possible to look at a menopause tunic, it was an important step for me to promote inclusion and accommodating the diverse needs of the employees. Going through the Menopause myself, I understood about the significant physical and emotional changes for individuals, and providing appropriate work attire could make such a significant difference in their comfort and wellbeing.

I advocated for the introduction of menopause tunics and spoke with the front-line staff about the challenges they were facing and the need to support suitable clothing options.

Front-line staff trialled and tested a range of tunics and fabrics to accommodate different preferences and body types. This ensured that we choose the material that worked for everyone through feedback. By taking these steps, it helps ensure that menopausal individuals felt valued, supported, and included in the workplace. We now have a tunic that everyone feel comfortable with and can make such a different to individuals while at work.