Emma Cooper - International Women's Day

For International Women's day, we wanted to shine a light on some of the amazing women that work for Johnsons Workwear and find out a little more about them.

Meet Group Information Security Manager Emma Cooper who has worked for Johnsons for 25 years:

Talk us through an average day in your life:

I recently started a new role within Johnsons and now look after the Information Security for the group. This means I am responsible for protecting our data and information. I am currently working on bolstering our response to any cyber incidents so my time might be spent helping our user base to become more aware of the importance of cyber security; making sure our IT environment is as secure and controlled as it can be; updating the JSG Management team on security risks or incidents or updating IT Security policies. I work closely with our Infrastructure team on technical improvements but also enjoy working with lots of other JSG departments and sites. In addition to information security work, I also look after data protection so might be called upon to oversee a request for personal data or a query on data processing.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

A scientist or a librarian so I suppose IT may be somewhere in the middle of that – I was attracted to the glamour of wearing a lab coat but loved reading too.

What is it like being a woman in the IT department?

Different every day, challenging, sociable. I was attracted to a role where my brain was challenged every day and enjoy being able to manage my own time. From a gender perspective being a woman in the IT department makes no difference. I am very lucky with my colleagues and the management team in that my experience and abilities define me and not my gender. I have not been discriminated against and have also managed to balance my career with raising my family due to flexible working.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing young girls and women today?

I suppose the challenge is still trying to be yourself but facing incredible pressure to conform to unachievable standards of appearance or lifestyle. I am certainly glad that I didn’t grow up with social media and was able to switch off once I was at home for example and be myself. Women are still I personally feel, faced with a choice over family or career which is not something that affects boys or men.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t expect to know or understand everything – be comfortable with asking questions and taking time to learn new skills and asking for help!

What changes would you like to see in the future for women?

I have been lucky to have been able to take a flexible role that still challenges me and allows me to progress my career but this is rare. I would love there to be more flexible technical IT roles that would allow women to enjoy a work life balance yet still be challenged by work and be given the same opportunities as men.

Who is your biggest female inspiration in life?

My Mum! Growing up I had a strong and independent female role model and neither of my parents expected me to be defined by gender. My Mum inspired me to get on with things and develop my own opinions rather than to be led by others. I still look to her for advice and guidance on a regular basis.