‘There’s a recognition that women bring a strong perspective to leadership’

Emily returned to Greenpeace in 2017 as a deputy programme director. She talks about how having an even percentage of women in leadership at Greenpeace UK shapes the organisation, and why she decided to return to the organisation after several years away.


I first joined Greenpeace in 2002 as an assistant climate campaigner working against the oil company ExxonMobil for its attempts to scupper global processes around climate change. I stayed at Greenpeace at that time for six years and worked my way up to campaigner and then  senior campaigner managing a small team.

I then left for a number of years, but returned to Greenpeace a few years ago. I now help to manage and oversee the programme department, which covers all the campaigns and most of the communication functions that relate to campaigns as well.

My job is to manage some of the team leaders and help guide them and their strategies, and step in with the day to day running when it’s needed. I also support the development of organisational strategy and resource management, ensuring the smooth running of a really effective output-driven programme department.

Being a woman in leadership at Greenpeace is a great experience. There are a lot of women in management positions here and generally I find it very supportive. There’s a recognition that women bring a strong perspective to leadership, particularly as we develop a leadership culture which is more open and empathetic.

Emily campaigning for wind power in 2003

Emily campaigning for wind power in 2003 © Amanda Gazidis / Greenpeace

More generally we have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. If our staff reflect the make-up of the population we operate in, we can run better campaigns and do better fundraising. It’s great to have seen our gender balance improve across management positions. Hopefully we’ll start to see greater diversity in other forms in those roles too.

I have two children and Greenpeace UK is a very supportive environment for working parents. There is a very good office hours culture here, so I have the time to focus on my family. There is also a very generous maternity provision.

Our HR team has really got on top of ensuring that women who take time out to have babies or to look after kids still feel like they’re part of the organisation and support them in coming back to work. This also stands true for men. There is a strong paternity provision, so you see quite a lot of men taking time out to be with their kids.It feels like there’s a balance in that respect.

It feels like an absolute privilege to work for Greenpeace even after all this time and I feel very lucky to be here. Greenpeace has a huge level of influence on companies, which really can make a difference. We are able to run campaigns that are truly global and that can mobilise millions of people, as well as really confront industries and governments. We can do so much more than many other organisations, which is why I wanted to come back.

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