One Year On: Katie Ghose

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Last year, barrister and campaigner Katie Ghose spoke at ‘Intersect’. She was then the Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society (2010-2017), where she established the Society as the UK’s leading campaign organisation for a better democracy. Since we last saw her, Katie Ghose has joined Women’s Aid as the Chief Executive. We have since spoken to her about the importance of this year’s theme in her life and work…

Hi Katie, thanks for chatting with us today! Our theme this year is ‘Home’ in all its interpretations… what does this mean both to your work and to you?

To my work – since taking up my new role at Women’s Aid in July, home has taken on a different meaning. For the women we work with – survivors of domestic abuse – home is the place from which they are forced to escape – in order to start a journey of recovery – away from their partner or husband. Their life may be so profoundly controlled by an intimate partner that they cannot even make a phone call or speak to another household member without fearing the consequences. Too often, the woman – and children- are forced to leave their home, sometimes into a refuge – and some will never return because it is not safe for them to do so or because of financial or other barriers that mean in putting their own safety first, their home is lost. Our mission at Women’s Aid is for every woman to be supported to escape – and ultimately for the situation not to arise in the first place – for one where violence against women and girls is consigned to the past.

To me, home is the happiest of places with my own family (including a much-loved tabby cat!). Although I live in (and love) London, Sussex – where I grew up remains another home – not a specific property or place, just multitude of corners all over the South Downs whose soft, green, moist hills entice casual or more hardcore hikers alike!  (And of course it is now been given national park status). With three female friends I once walked for 26 hours (non-stop, short breaks aside) from Petersfield to Brighton – 100k on a charity walk – walking night and day over the Downs is an illustration of how truly at home I am on the Downs.

Watch Katie’s brilliant talk here:

“At their best, referendums can be an inspiration in public dialogue. They can actually give us a chance
over the long term to become more democratic citizens. But at their worst, they make us more
divided.”

For more about Katie see her social media and the Women’s Aid website:

@katieghose @womensaid www.womensaid.org.uk

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