Celebrating Women in Charity, with Yasmin Geddis

As part of international Women’s Day we are celebrating Women in Charity and the challenges they face within their careers. 

Yasmin Geddis founded the Zachary Geddis Break the Silence Trust in October 2017 in honour of her brother, who took his own life at the age of 20. 

Yasmin wanted to decrease the stigma around suicide and mental health within northern Ireland. Since its establishment in 2017, the charity has supported young people throughout Northern Ireland through counselling, mentoring, advocacy, legal advice, crisis intervention, and workshops, all provided free of charge.

For more information on Yasmin and the work she does through the Zachary Geddis Break the Silence Trust, check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

What challenges have you faced as a female within your industry?

Within the mental health sector I cannot say I have faced many as I thrive on doing what I want and being the founder of ZGBTST I have not come across much gender based conflict. However, on the one end of the spectrum, my actual profession is a Shotokan Karate Instructor. As a female within a male dominated martial art/sport I have unfortunately come face to face with many different misogynistic individuals throughout my career.

One incident in particular, with being the only female in the room and 20 years old at the time I was informed that I was not permitted to wear trousers whilst attending a competition and I would loose my role if I did not follow the rules and wear a skirt. I have also been unfortunate enough to be the only women in a room full of men and used as a reason to tick the ‘equality’ box for public praise as being a ‘diverse’ organisation. To this day many people are surprised to see me as a Karate Instructor and on occasion I have been asked to get the ‘man in charge’ of my classes in which they would point to my male student in whom I teach.

Who is your female role-model and why?

I never really grew up having role models male or female because I was focused on what I wanted to achieve and personal goals even from when I was really young. I gained my first one a couple of years ago and it was not based on how popular this person was or how much money they made etc, it was more a feeling of inspiration and admiration for their courage, strength and lasting impact they have made on the world. My role model is Edith Edgar who is a psychologist in the US who survived the Holocaust and watched her parents and fiancee die in Auschwitz. She now specialises in
helping individuals suffering from PTSD.

Using your own personal pain and suffering to make a difference in this hard world is something I admire more than accolades and achievements as I believe it contributes a lot more than face value.

What advice would you give to the younger female generation and what can they do to make a difference?

My advice would be to use your voice and stand up for those unable to use theirs. Trust yourself and not others opinions, you are never going to please everyone. So you might as well choose the road less travelled by.

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