Mary McKenna has worked as a social worker in Children and Families for over 40 years. She has worked in Local Authorities but spent most of her career in the Voluntary Sector, latterly as Assistant Director for Barnardo’s in Scotland. Her professional expertise is in working with troubled children, fostering, adoption and children with disabilities. In the last ten years she has worked as an independent consultant, which has involved her in a much wider range of work in research, training and inspection of Children’s Services across Scotland. One of the most challenging experiences was in working in Russia in helping the government develop services for children with disabilities.
Mary has lived in Leith for 35 years but it was only in coming on to the Board of Sikh Sanjog in 2010 that Mary began to appreciate the challenges for Sikh women and young people growing up in Edinburgh. While some of the constraints on the Sikh girls reminded her of the old fashioned attitudes she experienced in the 1960’s, the ongoing constraints and limitations on Sikh women today are significant and do not reflect expectations and norms in the UK in the 21st Century.