Fawcett Society chief to step down

Sam Smethers, who has been in the role since 2015, says she has been wrestling with the demands of the role alongside family commitments

Sam Smethers
Sam Smethers

Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, will step down at the end of the year in order to rebalance her working and family life. 

Smethers, who joined the gender equality charity in August 2015, said it had “undoubtedly the best job I have ever had” but she had been wrestling with demands of the role alongside her family responsibilities. 

The former chief executive of Grandparents Plus, who has four children, said she had been juggling work and family life for the past 29 years and each job she had done had been bigger than the last. 

“Running Fawcett is a privilege, and undoubtedly the best job I have ever had but it is also all-consuming, partly because I care so much about the organisation and the work we do,” she said. “I find it hard to switch off, to let go, and the agenda just keeps on coming. 

“This recent period of working from home and home-schooling two children has undoubtedly had an impact on me and my family and affected the timing of this decision. 

“But the truth is I have been wrestling with the demands of the job for a while. So that is why stepping back feels like the right thing for me to do.”

She said she was not yet sure what she would do next but wanted to remain working on issues relating to equality and social justice.

Smethers, who will step down in December, said: “I remain fully committed to the issues we are campaigning on and the important work we do but I think Fawcett could benefit from some new leadership and fresh energy and I need to take a step back to rebalance my life.”


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