Gina Miller is a woman who is determined to be heard, in a world where women’s voices can often be ignored.
Opening the 2017 First Women Summit, Miller told the audience that, “there are three things in life we truly own; our voice, action and conscious.”
Miller has certainly owned all three of these things throughout her career. She has used her voice, action and conscious regularly to campaign for change.
In 2009, she co-founded SCM Private as a disruptive modern investment manager offering low access to high-end wealth management. Following this, in 2012 she launched the True and Fair Foundation, in the hope to provide transparency, scrutiny and ethics in the UK financial services industry.
Her campaigning work has resulted in influencing and drafting text in three EU Directives and in 2016, she was the lead claimant in a historical constitutional legal case against the UK Government seeking to preserve Parliamentary sovereignty. Miller claimed that the Government could not bypass Parliament and trigger Article 50 without primary legislation.
Speaking about her reasoning behind the legal case, the self-confessed history buff likened the initial Brexit decision to when Kings and Queens could demand the execution of any person without consulting their court. Miller argued the case of what would happen if the government didn’t have parliament in its way.
Miller said, “I couldn’t understand why no one was asking these questions. So I started asking them.”
“I naively though that I’ll step up and take the baton and people will follow.”
“Unfortunately, every time I looked behind me there was no-one there.”
The court case received a widespread media attention and Miller soon became the victim of racial and sexual abuse, death threats and cyber bullying.
One of the main themes of the abuse Miller received was her South American heritage. Born in British Guiana, Miller was sent to England by her parents at the age of 10 to be educated.
When asked whether she’d ever thought her race would ever be a problem, she said, “I’ve been in Britain for 40 years and I’ve never thought about it – I’ve always been me.”
The abuse that Miller received was mainly through the medium of social media, which she said, “is not an excuse for this behaviour.”
Speaking about the experience, Miller said, “It rocked my belief in the advances that we’ve made in diversity and inclusion.”
Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the first incident of sexism that Miller has had to face.
She said, “When I started, I remember going to a pitch and walking into a room full of men.”
“And they said to me – because my previous name was Marlowe – we are waiting for Mr Marlowe.”
“I said, ‘No you’re not; I am here to present to you today.”
“But you’re a woman’, they said, to which I asked if that was a problem?”
Despite all this, Miller said, “The scars I’ve earned have put me where I am today.”
“I’ve learnt you have to be tough as a woman.”
Undeterred by this, Miller is continuing to her voice, action and conscious to advocate the causes she believes in. However, she does worry about the fight for women’s equality: “Sometimes we’ve gone too far.”
Continuing, she said, “Equality is not just about women it’s about everybody. By equality, we mean an equal chance for both genders.”
“If someone is working hard and doing their best then they should be given a chance.”
“It’s about breaking down barriers and breaking down walls, and that’s the message I’d want to leave.”