Sunday, 1 May 2016

#WomedEd - Happy Birthday

This week I attended a first birthday party for #WomenEd at St Modan’s High School in Stirling. The birthday party was a national event organised by #WomenEd, our host was the lovely @MrsPert1.

To be honest I was a bit unsure as to what to expect. I was really pleased that #WomenEd is not about ‘girls together’ but is a grassroots movement which connects existing and aspiring leaders in education, who happen to be female. The partnership with Microsoft who's mission statement included a commitment to ‘support the empowerment of every person to realise their aspirations’ supports  #WomenEd in their aspiration for female leaders of the future in education.
The birthday party was pre-empted by a twitter chat on 21th April through #ScotEdChat.

I found myself feeling a bit unsure as the questions about the glass ceiling, leadership traits etc. which make me feel awkward, as I am a strong advocate of nurturing talent, whether that is found in a male or female, but perhaps this is more of a reflection of my own journey. I was interested in the slide from the presentation giving the % of female to male in the workforce and then leadership roles, see below.

Why is the percentage of the workforce not reflected in the percentage in promoted roles?

#WomenEd is based on eight values which are; clarity, communication, connection, confidence, collaboration, community, challenge and change, the 8C’s. For me personally, I are more interested in the #clarity element which raises lots of questions;
What are the issues? Why is there a gender bias (conscious or unconscious)? What about other bias? Is the issue greater for women (and men) of ethnic minority backgrounds? How can we make education more attractive to male graduates? What are the barriers for males coming into education? Why predominantly female? Why is there no partner organisation, MaleEd? What are the barriers? Is there a glass ceiling? (There are definitely differences in how male and female approach promotions and advancement in their career.) How can #WomenEd support and build capabilities, challenge impostor syndrome?

There is no quick fix, the challenges and barriers are complex and interconnected but #WomenEd is a good place to collaborate with like-minded individuals and build a community that can be the drivers of change.

If you want to find out more, the website site, here, has a load of information about the movement and is a good place to start. Both yammer and twitter are being used extensively to build the #WomenEd community. After 1 year there are now 4,500 twitter followers, 500 users on Yammer and 150+ blogs on StaffRm. Regional Leaders are being recruited to host small scale #Leadmeets and there is going to be an Unconference in August in Scotland.

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