Being 10% Braver is possible!

by Isabelle Ercan  @IsaErcan04

What a wonderful feeling of togetherness, of sisterhood I was left with at the end of last weekend after the thought-provoking #WomenEd unconference which gives women leaders a voice in education! Women from all over the world (UK, Canada, Middle East, Europe) joined us to discuss the challenges that we all encounter as women to access the leadership ladder in educational settings. 

How shocking is it that we, women, 50% of the population, the bulk of the workforce in schools, don’t get into Headships or Leaderships posts as much as men do!

 So we talked about how to close the gender gap. We talked about how challenging it is if you are a woman and even more challenging if you are a woman of ethnic background. Or if you are considered to be an older woman (that’s me, yes, over 45….) Outrageous, isn’t it, in a field like education where we allegedly stand for social justice, social mobility? Representation is needed at the highest levels to break these glass ceilings or glass cliffs as @deb_outwaite rightly called them!

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I see these issues in my work as a Labour Women’s Officer where I create opportunities for women to support each other and hear stories of other women of all backgrounds successful in politics /public life.

I see it in my work as a Lead for Initial Teacher Training, in my conversations with colleagues wanting to take on leadership responsibilities but needing another approach to be able to do so: Flexible working, training (finding one’s voice, peer mentoring/coaching, etc), in my own attempts to access leadership.

So, as Lisa ( @lhannay1 ) said 'Let’s make inequality a thing of the past!'

But how? Well, after listening to more of the hard evidence, the life stories of these wonderful and powerful leaders and women engaged in making our school system a fairer one, I could only but leave feeling refreshed, invigorated and ready to continue the fight and “buck the trend”, reassured we have the community of WomenEd behind us!

Here is my Pledge.  To be 10% Braver, I will:

  • Continue listening to all my women colleagues (from the support assistant who wants to be a teacher to the head of department who wants to access leadership) who need to share their stories, ask for impartial advice and advocate for them to train to access other roles (equity is key!). Enable all women to feel 10% Braver!
  • Continue to push for a half-termly Black and Asian Equity Circle for our female colleagues of an ethnic background in partnership with the lovely @Reah_banton and @YoulandeH from @MindfulEquityUK , promoting progression for these fantastic and hardworking colleagues.
  • Finally, work on my own pathway to access a Deputy Headship in the right educational setting that will enable me to be a powerful ally to other women and make an even greater difference for the community we serve!So much I want to write about and discuss with the women out there! 

So, this might just be the start of a conversation…… Thanks to @keziah70, @ViviennePorritt, @JulesDaulby @ParmPlummer @LizAMFree @NatashaHilton3 @lhannay1 and all the wonderful women behind @WomenEd for organising this unconference! Let’s own our story!

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