To celebrate International Women’s Day on the 8th March, we are highlighting the personal reflections of women who lead the various Home-Start Worldwide member organisations and the impact their organisations are making. Read below for Sisi Ploug Pedersen’s (acting Secretary General of Home-Start Denmark) insightful account.
Tell us what motivated you to get involved with/set up a Home-Start organisation?
I am a big proponent of early prevention and action and see the values of Home-Start as supporting this. I started as chairman of the national board of Home-Start Denmark and in the summer of 2021 was then hired as acting Secretary General. My many years as a social worker and consultant, as well as my experience in working with families, fit well with the important work in Home-Start.
Can you describe any challenges your organisation has faced and overcome?
Like everyone else, we have been challenged by Covid-19. We cannot say that we have yet completely overcome it, but our local schemes have been great at finding alternative ways to support our families in these challenging times.
With International Women’s Day in mind, can you describe any programmes or events over the years aimed towards the female community within your organisation e.g. mother & baby programmes? If so, what positive impact has there been for both service users (families) and volunteers?
Our government wants to get women’s quotas on boards. Home-Start Denmark’s national board and local boards are represented by both men and women. I am also a member of several boards and have not experienced joining as female board member as a problem.
What have been some of your own personal highlights in the organisation’s growth and the impact volunteers and services have made?
Home-Start is nothing without our amazing local boards, coordinators, and volunteers. My most important task is to support everyone in the organization and be in contact with politicians and other organizations so we reach out to even more families by starting up more local schemes in Denmark. This is why I am also particularly proud that Home-Start Denmark is now receiving financial support from our government.
With the theme of International Women’s Day being #breakthebias and a focus on gender equality, can you describe any positive experiences/observations you have had working for HomeStart that promote gender equality?
In Denmark, a new law on maternity leave has been passed. It means that leave is now shared equally between the parents. In Home-Start, some of our volunteers help out in “Father’s playroom” and other volunteers look after the children whilst mothers receive support for postpartum depression.