International Women's Day: 'I juggle two sets of twins with work'

media captionMembers of the public in Cardiff give their views on what makes an inspirational woman

An IT engineer who had two sets of twins in 13 months has spoken of balancing home and work, as events mark International Women's Day.

Emma Ingram from Caerphilly has four children under the age of three - who are all currently teething - as well as an 11-year-old son, Mackenzie.

"I get very, very little sleep... I won't lie, it can be a nightmare," Emma said.

She currently works part time but plans to return to full time hours.

She said having a supportive employer who allowed her to be flexible had been key to juggling her priorities.

Emma had twins Maddison and Jaxon in June 2016 after a long fertility struggle. Then her younger twins, Alexa and Sienna, arrived in August 2017.

"I'm currently back at work two days a week and planning to come back full time in September," she said.

"I can't wait to go back full time.

"It's what I class as normality, getting your brain back in tow, having conversations with adults but I will miss the children."

image copyrightEmma Ingram
image captionEmma Ingram always planned to resume her career in IT after having children

Emma said she always planned to resume her career after having children.

She said her employers had offered "fantastic" flexibility, including some home working when necessary - something that "falls on her" as her husband cannot do the same.

"I never miss an appointment that the children have," she said.

"It's really about productivity and the trust we are given to manage our workloads."

She said she gets asked "all the time" how she manages, adding that it is not a question her husband gets asked very often.

"I don't think he gets asked so much in work, but maybe [he does] when we're out and about together, people in the supermarket... but I don't think my husband gets asked as much as I do," she added.

image copyrightUtah State Historical Society
image captionMartha Hughes Cannon beat her husband to become a senator in 1896

Meanwhile, events were held around Wales to celebrate other inspirational women.

More than 70 new mobile phone QR codes launched across Wales to mark International Women's Day - the HistoryPoints codes can be scanned by mobile phones to show stories about women's history.

Some of the stories shine a spotlight on work done by women in peacetime or wartime, from gathering and selling cockles to bottling water, washing tourists' clothes and sorting postage stamps for sale to collectors.

Others celebrate the work of pioneering women who challenged societal norms, helping to shape current opportunities and expectations - including Wales' first female MP and solicitor, and the United States' first female state senator Martha Hughes Cannon, whose childhood home was in Llandudno.

Some reveal the fates of women convicted of crimes, including witchcraft and murder.

Contributor Lis Perkins, of the Friends of Church Island in Menai Bridge, Anglesey, said: "Men's stories are what we get all the time when we talk about history, so it's great to get more attention for the stories of women.

"The work that women did was so important."

'Addressing inequalities'

In Wrexham, there was an event organised by gender equality charity Chwarae Teg which looked at subjects affecting women - "from periods to pensions" - and how economic, social and cultural barriers can be overcome.

Chief executive Cerys Furlong said: "There is a huge economic benefit to be harnessed if we address the inequalities we see across Wales with women underrepresented in public life and our workplaces and still at greater risk of poverty, harassment and abuse."

The charity unveiled a purple plaque at Merthyr Central library to commemorate feminist historian and scholar Ursula Masson.

Ceredigion Museum in Aberystwyth and the Magic Lantern in Tywyn, Gwynedd, screened the best of the Women over 50 Film Festival.

And the Welsh Refugee Council heard stories from 10 women from diverse backgrounds during a free lunch at the Trinity Centre in Roath, Cardiff.

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