Strong Manchester Women – Transcript Episode 5 – Jackie Driver

Strong Manchester Women – Transcript Episode 5 – Jackie…

The transcripts are not an exact science, so expect a few spelling or grammatical errors. This transcript is also by no means intended to replace the audio. The podcast has some cracking music on it and the stuff you’d expect from a conversation, such as articulation, accents, pauses, intonation – basically all the stuff that makes us sound like proper human beings. So, if you can listen to the audio, please use the transcript as an accompaniment.

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an image of a woman with short brown hair sits on top of a leather chair. The photo is tinged green. On the left of the seated woman are the words 'strong manchester women' and to the top right of the woman are the words 'jackie driver' Both sets of words are in bold grey type.

Transcript: Episode 5 – Jackie Driver

Vic T – Host: 00:00 This is the Strong Manchester Women podcast, a series of inspiring conversations with the change makers, activists, leaders and trailblazers who make our city and beyond a better place to live, work and play. Now, Manchester has a history of very strong women, women who are forces to be reckoned with, women who push the envelope, start movements, smash glass ceilings, stand up for their rights and turn the wheels of progress. So join me your host, Vic Elizabeth Turnbull as I speak to these women, women who you may not have heard of before, the underground heroes who are changing lives and making a lasting impact in our communities.

Vic T – Host: 01:11 In this episode I speak to,

Jackie Driver: 01:14 My name is Jackie driver. I work in the field of equality and human rights

Vic T – Host: 01:19 and we talk about women’s rights.

Jackie Driver: 01:23 Well lots and lots of people think gender equality is kind of all fine now and there’s nothing to worry about. Of course, it’s not.

Vic T – Host: 01:29 Campaign tactics.

Jackie Driver: 01:31 I think in my younger days I was very much more physically active in terms of the way in which I campaigned. That might be freeing smoking beagles…

Vic T – Host: 01:41 Education.

Jackie Driver: 01:42 I left school, no qualifications, I’m deaf. I went to a mainstream school, so all I got was when the teacher turned around.

Vic T – Host: 01:48 and much more, I catch Jackie at Manchester’s Chamber of Commerce, right in the heart of the city centre.

Jackie Driver: 01:58
I’m currently seconded out of the equality and human rights commission to work for Manchester Health and Care Commissioning. lead their inclusion strategy for them, which is great fun actually, I’m very privileged to be able to do it. And I also chair a couple of organisations. So I chair an organisation called Sign Health. It’s charity and it’s there to ensure that British sign language users get proper and better access to health services. And I chair an organisation called Breakthrough UK and that’s a user led organisation to improve both independent living and employment opportunities for disabled people. I also sit on an advisory board for an organisation called Result CIC and Results are not for profit organisation, aimed at getting disadvantaged communities access to coaching.

Vic T – Host: 02:48 Busy?

Jackie Driver: 02:49 Yeah absolutely! Like to keep busy.

Vic T – Host: 02:52 Tell me about the moment that you were told that you were going to be selected as one of the Strong Manchester Women. How did it feel?

Jackie Driver: 03:00 I kind of scratched my head a little bit cause I thought, well what does a strong Manchester…. well yes, I’m a Manchester woman? That’s fine, but most of us are strong. You don’t get to be a woman in society without being strong. I was a bit perplexed and I decided in the end, well do you know what, yes, I represents other women like me, it kind of gave me pause for thought really about the whole campaign and what it’s there to do. And I think it is really important thing and it’s a great thing to shout about from Manchester.

Vic T – Host: 03:28 Why do you think that is, that it’s important to shout about?

Jackie Driver: 03:31
We’re all very aware as women in society of the disadvantage and discrimination that we face. Of course, many of us have lots of different types of privileges, but that doesn’t mean that women are still seen as second class citizens. And I think women get overlooked in so many different fields and lots and lots of people think gender equality is kind of all fine now and there’s nothing to worry about. Of course it’s not. Of course there’s many, many struggles and we get plenty of steps forward. Also plenty of steps backwards. So I think it’s a good approach for Manchester to recognise women in a very meaningful way and not in a ‘bolt-on’ approach, but in a way in which celebrates the whole city and what the city’s got to offer.

Vic T – Host: 04:08 Talking about Manchester. Is Manchester a good place to do what you do?

Jackie Driver: 04:14
Yes, I think Manchester is a good place, so my life has taken me all over the place. I’ve always lived in cities, really in an urban area, but I’m from Manchester. In fact, I should say I’m from Manchester, but most of my childhood I grew up in Wythenshawe and we don’t think of ourselves as Mancunians. We think of ourselves as being from Wythenshawe and there’s like a different world because it used to take about 55 minutes on the bus, on the 99 Bus. I think it’s still the same bus. Manchester has a lot to offer. I think growing up in an urban, inner city area. So I lived in Liverpool in the centre, I lived in London, in Brixton. I lived in Amsterdam and I was familiar with cities and urban areas and actually being in the countryside, it’s great for the weekend, but it frightens me. The thought of living in such a quiet place. I think it does gear you up for lots of advantages because you have got things at your fingertips that you might not otherwise have in the fields of leisure and culture and education and so on. So yeah, it’s a great place.

Vic T – Host: 05:10 So in terms of your professional life within disability rights and advocacy. Does Manchester support that vision?

Jackie Driver: 05:18 Yeah, well absolutely. And there’s a tale in that because of course the disability rights movement, the very roots of it come from Manchester. Many of the decisions about user-led organisations in the disability rights movement grew in Manchester and certainly my first mentor in the disability rights movement, who was my previous chief executive at Breakthrough UK. She was very much immersed in that drive to, to drive the disability rights movements. And Manchester often forgets that opportunity to, to recognise the wealth of, of diversity actually in the city, not just disability rights, but also black and minority ethnic community rights, women’s rights, Manchester’s got so much to be proud of in terms of that local recent history, as well going back to the Pankhursts and, and beyond that.

Jackie Driver: 06:07
Many years ago, probably about 30 years ago now, I was the women’s rights officer in Manchester. I then became the disability rights officer for Manchester City Council and they were great, kind of very halcyon days of plenty of budgets and plenty of opportunities and plenty political will. And actually when you’re in those times, you don’t realise quite how good they are until you’re out of them. And as you’ve lived through kind of those opportunities, you wait again for them to come up so that you can really drive your agenda forward. And I think that we’ve seen that happen in Manchester, with disability rights. So if I go back to when Manchester held the Commonwealth Games, that Games was won on the back of the strategy for driving first ever disabled / non disabled athletes together games, to be held either Olympic or Commonwealth and we won that on our strategy. So I feel very proud to be part of that. I was the disability rights officer at the time and able to deliver that and Manchester, you know, have the accolades of being most accessible city in Europe as a result of that. Sadly, that doesn’t always stay and you can ride a reputation for so long.

Vic T – Host: 07:17 Well an accolade that must have been so exciting to have been involved with. Jackie’s a campaigner and activist. I want to ask her if her campaign tactics have matured with her and how demanding is it really to be a campaigner?

Jackie Driver: 07:41
It’s as demanding as you want it to be and that you put into it as much as you want to put into it. And I’m 57 now. And I think in my younger days I was very much more active, physically active in terms of the way in which I’d campaign, you know, that might be sit ins that might be freeing smoking beagles … that might be… can’t remember what else I’ve done… Being involved in very, very difficult standoffs politically with British National Party and so on and so forth. And I think as you get older and perhaps a little bit wiser, you kind of change your tactics a little bit. Be a bit more, fighting your battles and winning you wars is, is much more strategic. I do less of the campaigning marching type of thing and more of the strategic influencing and shaping and working with public sector authorities to think differently and do differently and to design in, rather than an add on at the end. And I think that’s been really beneficial learning for me. I think you need both elements of us. In fact, I can remember a a pivotal point in my career when I was working for the disability rights commission, I was part of a campaign where we were literally chaining ourselves to the buses that were outside the office I worked in and it was at that point where my director said, ‘it’s one or the other for you’. And so you do get to kind of thinking, well how do you carry on? Because actually I think in all of us, the opportunities to be inclusive is there, for those of us who decide to take it up. You’ve just gotta find a way that works for you in your lifestyle at the time. Whether you’ve got children, whether you’ve got family, whether you’ve got commitments, whatever it is, you kind of find a way through it.

Vic T – Host: 09:18 I love that. And that’s a really good example of the difference types of campaigning that can be effective as well. You ca n have your, you know, front of the line, chaining yourself to smoking bagels or you can be strategic.

Jackie Driver: 09:35 You talk about this being a podcast and of course that’s quite a modern way of delivering messages now. And, you think of some of the campaigners currently, the young women that are out there campaigning, they’re using social media and actually companies being different than, than it was back in my day. I want to mention some people here because I think they’re really important. So of course Greta Thunberg and many other women taking and talking truth to power. Do it in a way which gets the opportunity for a much wider audience much, much more quickly. I also want to mention Zianna Oliphan who spoke out in Charlottesville, a young woman, I think she was six or seven years old when she spoke about the ingrained racism that she was experiencing and Emma González of course speaking about gun control, after the Parkland’s shooting and Malala Yousafzai on the right to education.

Jackie Driver: 10:24 So all of them, very different routes they’ve taken to the course, but they’ve been no less passionate about the cause and no less driven. There were just different messages in different ways. I think once you get those messages across, and I think each of those over time will mature into different ways because those people, those young women that I mentioned, this isn’t going to leave them. You know, it goes back to women’s rights for me, whether it’s about our education, whether it’s about our bodies, whether it’s about our sexual orientation or gender identity or anything else. You know, in ways in which our lives who controlled women will always stand up and be counted. I guess now, my opportunity is, and I do a lot of this now, is mentoring and coaching women to get the opportunities to get the doors open for them to take the battle forward.

Vic T – Host: 11:11 Handing the baton over?

Jackie Driver: 11:11 Yeah, I think so. Yeah.

Jackie Driver: 11:14 It won’t stop me until the day I die because you know. It isn’t just about women’s rights and it isn’t just about, I’m a white woman. It isn’t just about, kind of rights of LGBT or black women… Because you have to recognise where disparity of outcomes lies and you have to be able to recognise that privilege is privilege wherever you are. So therefore, you’ve got to fight all battles. You can’t just see the, you know, kind of a a one stop shop about ‘this is my battle’. Of course you might focus on that, but you have to recognise disadvantage across the system, whether it’s to asylum seekers and refugees, whether it’s for homeless people, socioeconomic disadvantage and characteristics, whatever it is. Everyone should have an equal level playing field and why shouldn’t they? It just doesn’t make sense to me and it’s never made sense to me as a child or an adult.

Jackie Driver: 12:07 You cannot just say that this is, this is my one battle without recognising is a very select group of people who hold power in society. And breaking that down isn’t quite as difficult as you think it is. Often we think it’s impossible and actually it’s a man that I turn to when I think about this phrase; so Will Smith, he’s got a great belief in his own power to change things. And his thing about believing in yourself I think is absolutely true. That we are all small people, but we all have the opportunities to do something and to change this world that we live in for the short term that we live in it, for the better and for the life of me I can’t think why anyone wouldn’t want that.

Vic T – Host: 12:51 Will Smith as in the actor and singer?

Jackie Driver: 12:53 Yes. Correct. Yeah, yeah.

Vic T – Host: 12:55 Wiki Wild Wild? That one?

Jackie Driver: 12:55 that’s the one, great guy.

Jackie Driver: 12:58 If you listen to some of his podcasts on believing in yourself, his journey through, through life and getting to that fame and everything else was all about self belief and of course easy for a man to be much more self belief and a woman. But this would mean that you can’t draw from that because for every woman that struggles to fight the battles and challenges and barriers that they face, self-belief has got to be part of that journey, to keep getting up and to keep battling again to get where you want to go.

Vic T – Host: 13:32 Now, if this is your first Strong Manchester Women podcast episode, or you’ve listened to them all so far, there’s a common theme that’s running throughout this series and it’s that it all starts with you.

Vic T – Host: 13:53 You were saying earlier that when you were little you couldn’t understand why things weren’t equal. Was there a moment when you were little that was an instigator in doing what you’re doing now?

Jackie Driver: 14:05
Yes, I think there was, so when I was eight years old, I was at school and all of us were taken into the hall to watch Neil Armstrong take his first step on the moon. I was absolutely engaged with this. You can imagine, the picture was so awful that it could have been somebody moving a bit of cheese on the table and you really wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. But we were all taken in, we were all built up to this excitement and of course it was on the news and everything else and the whole world was watching this and I was fascinated by it and I thought, that’s me. That’s what I’m going to be when I grew up, I am going to be an astronaut and I absolutely lived and breathed that. So much that I had a picture of Valentina Tereshkova on my wall, she was the first Russian woman to step on the moon and that was what I was going to be. And you know, from there to where I am now, I didn’t know what my journey would be. Why would I? I didn’t know what my journey would be when I left school. When I left school, I left school, with no qualifications, I’m deaf. I went to a mainstream school. So all I got was when the teacher turned round and looked at me. So in the 1970s when I was at school, there was an experiment with deaf children, let’s put them in mainstream, see how they do without, without any support. That was great, but it did help me learn to lip read very well. I left without any qualifications. Went to work in the local factory and by chance, and it was purely chance, I came out of the factory desperate for the toilet on the way home and the new college in Wythenshawe was set up.

Jackie Driver: 15:35
So I went in there and used the toilet. I came out and there was somebody equally desperate with a clipboard saying sign up for classes, sign up for glasses. I almost felt like she wouldn’t let me out unless I signed up for something. So I said, well I didn’t do very well at school. Fine. I ended up doing Art, which I was good at, at school cause you can be good at art, when you’re deaf. And swimming as well. Ended up doing that. And then we went to art college in Liverpool, majored in sculpture, got a first class degree in sculpture. I thought, oh great. And then I thought you can’t be a sculpture though, can you? What do you do with it and this is the time that you got grants for education. So I no idea what to do.

Jackie Driver: 16:11 So I did the nearest possible thing. So I then went to the local college in Liverpool and did my city and guilds in and carpentry and joinery. I became a carpenter, because that was really the obvious job for me that would associate itself with what I’d done for the previous few years. I suppose the reason I’m saying that is in my heart I still wanted to be an astronaut, but of course nobody would share with me the steps I would need to do that and I wouldn’t have the first clue what I needed to do. And so I ended up being carpenter. I worked for the direct works department. I was the only woman on the course. It was only me and one gay man that didn’t get an apprenticeship because of course, why would they give us apprenticeships? So it took me ages to get an apprenticeship.

Jackie Driver: 16:51 I had got an apprenticeship with a woman in the end, she was an aboriginal woman, she was deported back to Australia. So I didn’t finish that. So I just finished my apprenticeship a City Works Department. And you can imagine what that was like as a woman. And that really was my first kind of inkling into really? It’s got to be something different here about women’s rights and often chance plays a part I think in your career. And so for me I took my work, I too my skills, which were my hands and I ended up in lots of different cities taking over at times, a lot of squats. So taking over schools, setting them up as workshops and supporting women who are fleeing violence to learn how to change locks, build furniture, the kinds of things that they would need. We set up our own kind of business in a way, and that worked really well for me and I really enjoyed doing that.

Jackie Driver: 17:35 And then gradually, gradually I came back to Manchester and then I set up… No, I came back to Manchester and got an opportunity to work in Central Library. So somebody I knew who was going on maternity leave and she said come in and see the library. And the next minute I had a job there. I don’t know if you know the central library underneath, it’s about as many stacks down as the heights of it. Somebody would ask for a book, a random book, and you just go down there and you’d, you’d be lost for hours, finding things. I obviously made friends there, and then I made friends with the people who run discards and the discards with way the books were ripped or ruined and would be thrown away. And I’d sit with them, having a chat and I’ll say to them, ‘you can’t throw that away! that’s really, really important!’ And they would say, ‘no it’s just a pamphlet’. I said, ‘It’s a Martin Luther King pamphlet and you can’t throw it away. That’s a black panther leaflet. You can’t throw that away, this is really important stuff!’ So at that time, women, I mean, we’d just, you know, the lowest of the low there, you were never allowed to even talk to the chief librarian. So I had to take this to somebody else who took it to somebody else, who took it somebody else, who took it to the chief librarian, and the message came back, ‘She’s absolutely right, the Head of Propaganda.’ And that was my title Head of Propaganda at Central Library . It’s just kinda chance really. And from there I moved into homelessness and worked my way through different departments and the council and they eventually ended up in chief execs. But you kind of don’t know really with your career, how and where it takes you and you make a decision at each point as to whether this is the right decision for you in terms of your beliefs, in terms of what you want to do with life. And to me, it was very definitely about creating a level playing field. Yeah. I’m very proud of the fact that they now archive all of the very important political leaflets in Manchester. Don’t throw them away.

Vic T – Host: 19:32 As well as self-belief what’s coming through as well, is values and how values underpin everything that our strong Manchester Women do and the natural step after talking about self worth and values has got to be, resilience.

Jackie Driver: 19:53 Yeah. You have to believe in yourself and you have to know your worth. And that is important because like many other people, I’m sure, I’ve spent many years unemployed. I spent many years not knowing, you know, living in, in quite abject poverty. Actually I’ve been homeless a couple of times and you gotta keep the faith a little bit for a good Manchester term. And that’s really important because it’s really very easy to get ground down and it’s really, really easy to have a really aspirational goal that you want to achieve, like being an astronaut, and thinking that you’re failing, you’re never going to get there, but actually you’re not failing. I’ve been very privileged to be a senior civil servant for many, many years and all of the training they send you on to be leaders, they do this resilience training with you.

Jackie Driver: 20:40 And the resilience is about falling down and getting back up again and I just sometimes think yeah, yeah, that’s easy said, but you’ve not been in some people’s shoes, but there is some truth in it. Actually all of us regardless get up again. And sometimes we get up for the worst, sometimes you get up for the better. But what we do, we do always move forward. And we have to hold faith that we do that, you know, and I’m not saying that lightly because of course lots of us will experience mental health in our, in our lifetimes, lots of us will experience, severe depression and anxiety and all sorts of conditions, that make it really very hard to get through life. But still mostly we move forward. While we move forward, we’ve got the opportunity to do something, just make life a bit better.

Vic T – Host: 21:29 I’m interested to hear about Jackie’s life outside of work, outside of being professional, where does she get her support from? How does she keep herself grounded, healthy and loving life?

Jackie Driver: 21:45 Absolutely. Absolutely. And I do, I have really, really good family and friends. I have loads of children in my life. I still have loads of children my life. I don’t have children myself, but I’ve always had children in my life. And that really just create that opportunity to think, you know, when you think about the environment and you’re thinking about throwing away that plastic bottle or whatever else it is, you’re thinking ‘what world am I leaving for other people?’ So I think having children in your life does two things, it creates a sense of responsibility for you, but it also allows you to have laughter and fun and brings the child out in yourself. That’s really, really important. In terms of family, yes, I’ve got really, really strong and good family support networks and that’s often not enough for me though because I also love to do sports.

Jackie Driver: 22:28 I play netball, I do yoga, Zumba’s, my absolute favourite thing at the minute. So I love to throw myself around doing a bit of zumba. But yeah, work hard, play hard would probably be my motto. I just love life, you know? And I’m one of those early people. I get up early, I wake up naturally at six o’clock in the morning, so I’m up and awake and ready. I drive other people mad who are night owls. But that’s how it is, isn’t it? You know, I wake up every morning loving life and that’s a gift really, cause not everybody does. I absolutely appreciate that. But if you’ve got that energy and you’ve got that drive, I mean put it to good use.

Vic T – Host: 23:03 What’s the biggest challenge that’s facing you now?

Jackie Driver: 23:08 In all my time, even back to the days of Thatcherites and Conservatism, the challenges that we’ve got now pre and what we’ll have post Brexit, are very, very worrying i n terms of people’s rights. Lots of my work, probably the last 15 years, I’ve spent working at the equality human rights commission, pouring over details of different hate crimes, investigations into hate crimes and some of the most horrendous evidence. And so everything that I’ve done from working with Holocaust survivors right through to genocide, the alarm bells ring stronger now on human rights in this country than I have ever known in my lifetime. And that’s to me is very fearful. So putting together coalitions of the willing to fight that is really, really important to me. Yeah. Sorry, that was a really sad note. But it’s, it’s the answer to your question, right?

Vic T – Host: 24:05 It’s the truth.

Jackie Driver: 24:05 It is Yes.

Vic T – Host: 24:06 Moving from challenges, to how do you know you’re doing a good job?

Jackie Driver: 24:10 I don’t know if any of us do. And of course as women we often default to not valuing what we do or pushing it down.

Jackie Driver: 24:17 And I think we do default to thinking we can’t make a difference when we feel overwhelmed. But I do have quite a strong self-belief. Actually, even if I die fighting and die trying, it’s the most important thing that I do.I suppose that’s my message to lots of women is that we don’t feel that we’ve got, wither we’ve got the capacity or we have the, well, we have the opportunity to make a difference. But of course all of us, which is where it goes back to the whole thing that I said at the beginning about all of us are strong. All of us have some opportunity and we either take it or not to make a difference and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I can see an opportunity and it’s there in front of me to do good, and I don’t take it. For me, I want to look back on my life and feel that I’ve done something I can be proud of. Making money doesn’t interest me, wealth doesn’t drive me. Love drives me, people drive me. And it can sound very stuffy that, but I don’t think it is. I just think it’s the way that we are. We don’t have to be entirely contained by the political or economic environment we find ourselves in

Vic T – Host: 25:23 Listening to Jackie there is so inspiring. So what drives you? Have you ever thought about it? Is it money? Is it family? Is it friends? Is it changing the world? So to link into that, I want to know what Jackie thinks is her biggest achievement.

Jackie Driver: 25:43 One of the things, and again, it was an accident I was when I was working in the area of hate crime and an article arrived on my desk, which was pulled together by some people in the disability rights movement that said, you know what? Disabled people keep getting killed. And murdered and violated and we think it’s disability hate crime. And they wrote an article and I picked it up and I thought this is interesting. There’s nothing in the law then, the only hate crimes recognised in law where race and homophobia was just getting recognised. Sexism gets recognised in a very different way in law. And the race obviously it came from the Steven Lawrence inquiry. So I picked it up and I looked at it and I took it to my Director and I said, ‘I think we ought to look into this, there’s something in this.’.

Jackie Driver: 26:30 And I convinced them, it took me quite a while to convince the exec and we did, we decided to hold an inquiry into disability harassment. It took four or five years to complete. During the course of that, I came across legislation, a crime and justice act, that allowed for a 30 year sentence if you were murdered because of your race or religion or sexual orientation, but only 15 years if you were disabled. And I thought that doesn’t look right and I kept comparing it. And I took it to my lawyers and my team and I said, ‘what do you make of this?’ And he said, ‘that doesn’t look right’.

Jackie Driver: 27:07 Because of the circles that I was in, I was very easily able to take it to the Director of Public Prosecutions, shared it with him and he said he scratched his head and he said, ‘that doesn’t look right’. And eventually we got to the Secretary of State, it was Ken Clark at the time, and he said, that it was just an anomaly in the law, we can change it. And it was as simple as that. Disabled people were thinking our lives were worth half that of everybody elses. And there happened to be a legal aid bill coming up and he said we’ll put it in that and change it.. There was no resistance to it. It was just somebody hasn’t spotted it. I’m proud of that cause it was only that I was poring over it that I spotted it.

Jackie Driver: 27:49
And it’s those kinds of things that you think looking back in your career, you know, I can be really proud of that. And it’s a personal pride actually because you just think, you know, I could’ve just thought, oh that’s another wrong thing and push it to one side. I just thought I’ll use the opportunities that I’ve gotten, I’m a bit of an opportunist and if I can knock on somebody’s door and they’ll open it, I’ll, I’ll talk to them about it. I wouldn’t let it go. And, and it was a great opportunity and actually that Director of Public Prosecutions, he’s now retired. I saw him, two or three years later, and he said to me, ‘Jackie I just wants to say thank you for bringing that inquiry to my attention because I got on a bus the other day and there was a wheelchair user waiting for the bus and he was in front of me and the bus driver wouldn’t let him on, but he let me on.’ He said, ‘I stood there and said to the driver, this chaps in front of me.’ And he said it hadn’t occurred to me before that happened and it was too much trouble to put the ramp down and he didn’t want to bother with him. And he said, had it not been for you, relating me to this whole thing about disabled people being treated differently. And I thought, well there we are, I’ve won somebody over. And it actually is the individual wins that I think you remember most and sometimes getting people to look through a different lens, it becomes normal then and it becomes a norm that you know, you see disabled people waiting because a taxi has gone past and they don’t want to put the ramp down or because there’s no interpreter available and just go to the end of the queue, let somebody else get seen and it becomes the norm.

Jackie Driver: 29:08 And it’s only until we can get people to look through a different lens, that you think, do you know what? No, it’s not right that. Everybody should, I’m saying at least a level playing field to get started from. I do training, I’ve done training, many years on, on the social model of disability. Get people to think differently about barriers and not people. When you see the little light bulb go on and they’re ‘oh I never thought of that, it’s barriers not people’, cause all of us are disabled, if you’re not disabled now, you’re guaranteed in your lifetime disability will touch you. There’s no question it’s going to. So why on earth would you assume that somebody, I often say to people, people say to me, you’ve got, I’ve got residual hearing in one ear, about 25% in one ear. No hearing in this ear. People say to me, ‘Oh, what’s it like? Just being able to hear in one ear?’

Jackie Driver: 29:56 And I say ‘well, what’s it like not being able to hear in four ears?’ Because there isn’t a norm. You just think you’re the norm. No, we’re actually all different. It’s like people love to people in boxes and this person that can sit there because actually it’s relationship with them, not the person themselves. So we want to feel sorry for them. There’s a woman called Stella Duffy, she died a few years ago, she did this great Ted Talk. It’s about disabled people being either super heroes or super crips. And I did a lot of work with channel four on that. Or you’re wasters and never going to get anywhere in life and you might as well kick them out of the wheelchair – and actually we’re none of those things. We’re not your inspiration. We’re not the people who can’t do anything, we’re the people for whom the barriers that you put in society, or that we all put in society, mean that we can’t get to where we want to go. And it’s as simple as that actually.

Vic T – Host: 30:59 As we draw to the close of the interview with Jackie. I of course want to know who her strong Manchester women are.

Jackie Driver: 31:11 I can tell you who they’re not. My strong Manchester women aren’t the leaders, the women that have made it through to positions of power. My strong Manchester women are the women that come to Manchester that might be asylum seekers, refugees that might come to Manchester for economic, they might come to work here as migrants. They’re the strong Manchester women that hold this city up. It’s not those women that have had the opportunity like myself to weave through and get some positions of influence and power. It’s those who hold us up at the bottom.

Vic T – Host: 31:44 Finally, how can our listeners, who are listening or reading this, get involved in what you’re doing? How can we help?

Jackie Driver: 31:55 Come and talk to us at Breakthrough. We’ll support you if you are disabled person. If you’re not a disabled person, come and talk so there’s anyway to see what you could do.

Jackie Driver: 32:02 Same with Sign Health and I’ll offer the same at Result. If you’re interested in the organisations that I’m involved in, by all means come and talk to me, come and talk to us. We’d be very happy to help engage you if that’s what you want to do, or more broadly if you’re struggling to tackle the challenges of discrimination and disadvantage and if I can be of any value or help in helping you think it through, or get you on your next step. I’m very happy to talk to anyone.

Vic T – Host: 32:33 Thanks so much for your time Jackie, that’s been brilliant.

Jackie Driver: 32:33 You’re very welcome.

Vic T – Host: 32:44 This podcast is inspired by the annual Strong Manchester Women campaign. The campaign celebrates the achievements and impact, of a bunch of incredible women doing brilliant things. The 14 women profiled in this series were selected for the 2019 campaign. To find out more about all of the women featured in this podcast and the campaign visit Pankhurst Trust dot org.

Now, Jackie’s involved in so much stuff I couldn’t possibly name them all here, so check the show notes for a full list with links of course. There’s also a full transcript of this episode available for you to read at MIC media dot co dot UK forward slash Strong Manchester Women podcast and you’ll find loads more information about the podcast and the campaign on there too. We’d also love to hear what you think about stories that we’ve shared with you. Who are your strong Manchester women, anything connect with us on Twitter using the Hashtag strong MCR women. Big thanks to Manchester City Council and the Pankhurst Trust for supporting this podcast series and a big thanks to Jackie. The podcast has been made possible through the centenary city’s legacy fund. The strong Manchester mean podcast is a MIC Media production and he’s presented, produced and edited by me, Elizabeth Turnbull. For more information, visit MIC Media dot co dot uk.


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