How do you feel your confidence has changed over the past 10 years?

I’ve always been known within my friendship group as the opinionated, maximalist fashion wearing, outgoing and confident one. I never cared really what other people thought of what I looked like, or them disagreeing with what I had to say. I learnt early on to deal with disapproval by being able to sift through constructive criticism, and baseless negativity.

In my professional life, again, I’ve always been confident in my abilities and my voice – I am not a bystander and have been known to be the one brave enough to stand up and call out injustices, which funnily enough has led me to a very fitting career in HR.

However, in the last few years, my confidence has been turbulent, with me experiencing lows in confidence like I never have before, and I’ve really had to dig deep to work on my self-esteem and confidence.

Why do you think that is?

Trauma from domestic abuse has definitely knocked my confidence. I’ve had to work through a lot of confusing experiences centred around coercive control and try to cultivate that strong sense of self again, muddling through the experiences to decipher what was coerced consent for example and what was actually my decision.

Coercive control totally destabilises your sense of self, and you have to have trust in yourself in order to be confident and outgoing, I think.

So basically, I’ve been learning to love and trust myself again. Funnily enough though, I’ve simultaneously been raising my profile as a business owner and activist during this time, and my unwavering commitment to speaking out about important issues through my community interest company – and my podcast Ruled by Magpies, probably leads people to thinking I am much more confident than I feel some days!

Do you feel invisible in some aspects of your life? How does that show up?

I feel invisible sometimes in my activism. Because I come from a private sector career background, and I don’t have specific qualifications in violence against women and girls, it sometimes feels like my voice isn’t as important.

I’ve also found that unfortunately feminism can be quite divisive and competitive, where I was expecting collaboration and have been eager to forge relationships on a mutual campaign for a better world for women and girls. However, I truly believe that there needs to be focus on victim-survivor voices at the centre of all campaigns and initiatives to ensure their true effectiveness, so I never stop speaking out.

Also, as you climb the ladder at work, socio-economic disparities become more apparent, and I have felt invisible before as I don’t feel represented at work and have struggled always to find a role model at work that I identify with, that has already walked a similar path to me. I would really like to see more work being done as part of DEIB initiatives that focus on socio-economic status, in addition to the already recognised protected characteristics. This could go a long way in reducing stigma surrounding domestic abuse, because there’s a common misconception of associating domestic abuse with poverty.

Tell me about a woman who is older than you, inspires you and why? Describe how she makes you feel.

Authenticity is something that I really value and is one of my personal values.

Women who embrace the multiplicity of womanhood and share the abundancy, variety and complexity of their lives and experiences, even in the face of oppression and judgement.

Dr Jessica Taylor is a real inspiration for me in this regard, and the power in which she holds her self and her identity, makes me feel confident in doing the same.

Eve Barlow is another awesome and authentic woman older than me, who just fights and stands up in the face of injustice every day.

One day, all of us younger women, will be older women too, and so I think it is important to mention the inspiration from younger women – they are out their doing so much work against the patriarchy. I recently met an idol of mine Chidera Eggerue, AKA The Slumflower, at an event with a focus on campaigning for workers rights and raising money for the sex workers union, planned by 25-year-old activist, Gemma Rose.

There are so many young women who have relentless grit, and want to change things for the next generation, based on what they’ve watched their elders and idols experience. 

What worries you about ageing?

Patriarchy terrifies me when it comes to ageing, and especially from a professional perspective.

I recognise my privilege when I say this, but the diminishment of ‘pretty privilege’ as you age is something I have been thinking about recently. As a young woman, you’re not taken seriously enough at all, and passed off as inexperienced, inferior. But being a young woman in itself is something that inadvertently can get you recognised, which is obviously so wrong and exploitative.

Then on the flip side, as an older woman, you’re still taken less seriously and no longer have your young ‘pretty privilege’ to get you access to certain spaces – you just can’t win! So many women are thrown on the scrap heap as they age when it comes to work and employment, the weaponisation of menopause symptoms for example in discrediting women and their ability to do a good job.

Ageism is something I try to challenge consistently in my everyday work, and I am really proud to work in a place that embraces workers of all ages, and has open conversations around retirement options and part time or flexible working for example, so we can retain these fantastic people in our workplace. 

What excites you about ageing?

Life is made up of many lifetimes – you have the power to shape your lifetimes.

Using age as a reason to stay stuck in one place will only bring you regret in my opinion. What excites me about ageing is all my lifetimes yet to come – who I will reinvent myself as in the future, what careers I may have, what love I may receive and give, and what adventures I will go on.

Sister, feminist, woman (which is tattooed with 9 different vibrant colours on my arm), will always be my core identity, but there are many versions of me that will enjoy, experience, and relish all that life has to offer in the future!

 Fast forward to 2033 what are the 3 things you hope will have changed?

Systemic change takes so much time, so I will be realistic with this one..

  • I want to see intersecting policies and approaches within organisations, through human resources functions embracing CSR as part of their remit, treating it as important as commercial value. I want these policies and practices to consider real societal issues which have both huge individual and economic impact, like domestic abuse and socioeconomic discrimination.

  • A better understanding of coercive control through victim-survivor and specialist led training and campaigning, within the criminal justice system, and all supporting structures, from police to social workers. This will mean better preventative action, and better results in the CJS for victim-survivors.

  • A rise in anti-victim blaming and trauma informed services, which are therapeutic but alternative to therapy, as therapy does not work for everyone and is not the only answer for overcoming and living with trauma. These need to be accessible, affordable, community led and non-medical interventions.

Question from Gemma, what would you want your daughter to accept you are accepting for yourself?

I would want my daughter to know that life isn’t about perfection, it’s about passion.

Put it out there, put yourself as you are, your words, your work, whatever out there.

Don’t let perfection and constructs of what is ‘normal’ or expected hold you back.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Hurt people don’t hurt people!

You don’t deserve to be hurt, there is no excuse for abuse or harm ever, and it is never your fault.

You are enough and you don’t have to accept or excuse harm from others.

Love lives within you, and you will thrive, alone.

Thank you Chloe for answering my questions & joining the other Visible Women in this series. To find out more about Chloe’s work visit