Moira Cameron made history in 2007 as the first woman to become a Yeoman Warder in HM Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London. One of 35 ‘Beefeaters’, for the first time since 1485 she broke the run of all-male Yeoman Warders. She talks to First Women about celebrating your successes and the importance of cultivating sisterhood everywhere.
I am not sure where my appetite for persistence has come from
But I do remember from a very young age being angry at injustice and unfair situations especially when I didn’t know how to deal with them. From childhood, having had to stand up for myself in many ways has made me a very determined character. It has given me strength to stick with something even when it gets tough. My father calls me stubborn but I am like him in many ways so maybe that’s where I get it from!
It’s not always easy but sometimes a home truth is essential to make a balanced decision
It is important to speak about things with someone I really trust – someone who will not just tell me things I want to hear but sometimes what I need to hear.
It is vitally important to celebrate personal successes
No matter how big or small. It is even more important to give yourself a pat on the back. Look at yourself in the mirror, smile and tell yourself that you did good. Say it out loud if necessary. Yes, I talk to myself!
So often we dwell on the negative, beating ourselves up about things most of which we have little or no control over, this is very destructive. I try to celebrate success not only in myself but in others too.
Humans are all very different. If people, male and female, recognised this and respected the fact then I think we would all be in a better place.
At times when you stand up for what you believe in sometimes you have to stand alone
You have to have the determination to follow your beliefs through – even when things gets tough because you are the one who will make things different for the next person. Always remember that!
I think women bring a sense of sisterhood to any environment and that is important for many reasons
Even if it is something as simple as being able to answer a question for a colleague that they would find hard asking a male co-worker.
I am very fortunate in that I am a pretty optimistic person
I try and find the positive and the lesson in everything. But there are times that I become frustrated. It is important to recognise these moments and not let them get to the stage where the lid can come off – it does happen but fortunately that is a rare occasion!
Trust that you got to where you are because of who you are
So don’t let others dictate your path. Oh, and learn to really laugh at yourself when you make a mistake (even if it is in front of hundreds of people)!
I am proud to be part of the First Women exhibition
I was delighted when I was first asked to take part, even though I don’t think I realised the enormity of the project at the time. I was the fifth person that Anita photographed and even although I knew it was going to be 10 more years in the making it has passed so quickly! Seeing the strong, inspirational women that I stand beside in this project makes me incredibly proud. But the real achievement is Anita’s belief and determination in seeing the project through to this point – hats off to her!
Interview by Deborah Willimott