WomenEd Blogs

Reflections on WomenEd unconference
Cara Carey
Flexibility
by Cara Carey @CaraCarey20 I’ve always been very career focused and loved my job as a teacher. In fact, I remember one colleague expressing surprise at my pregnancy as she thought I was more of a ‘career woman’… as if you could only be one or the other. But I’d known that I wanted children for as long as I could remember. I’d progressed to middle leadership fairly quickly, and at 30 when I fell pregnant with my first child, I was in my first year as Head of Sixth Form.
Flood Alert
Victoria O'Farrell
Womens Health
by Victoria O'Farrell @vjofarrell    #WorldMenopauseDay We were in a queue at Universal Studios in LA, (yes LA ,California! Trip of a life time and all that!) when I said ‘I’ve got to go!’ With blood streaming down my legs and filling up my denim shorts, I locked myself in a toilet cubicle in shame. I tidied myself up, tears welling up. ‘What the hell is going on? I’ve just finished my period and now this, blood, thick clots, so much blood!’.
Let’s dive into our histories
Meera Chudasama
General Blogs
by Meera Chudasama  @MeeraChudasama @innovatejournal Whilst the global unconference came and went, the spirit of WomenEd was strengthenedan.  Transfixed with each presenter's ideas, inspiration and intrigue of our place in education and I was astonished momentarily that a space like this was not valued by all.
Growth of a New Voice
Kathleen Cushnie
General Blogs
by Kathleen Cushnie @VoicingEd Do you take time to reflect on your growth and achievements? Are you recognising support from others? Who do you need to voice gratitude to? Recently, I noticed that I hadn’t taken the time to acknowledge my achievements; instead I was caught up in the continuous journey of development. The value of reflection is underrated. I believe this now as I take time each week to celebrate my growing ‘wins’. Celebrating my small wins allows me to recognise the value in small steps towards a goal. Writing this down in a journal is even more rewarding as you can go back at a later stage and reflect on your growth.
‘Concentrate on Being a Mum’
Jo Pellereau
Flexibility
by Jo Pellereau @PhysicsJo I am blessed to have two wonderful children, both the result of gruelling IVF procedures and following pregnancies dotted with the stress of hyperemesis, blood loss and a bout of post natal depression following the birth of my second child. The impact on my wellbeing and the toll it took at work is my primary motivation for undertaking a PhD in Education looking at fertility issues and how schools handle them. Despite these challenges, at no point in the past almost 4 years have I considered my career to be over or even paused. It has taken a different direction than I thought, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have importance to me or to my sense of identity. In fact in many ways my commitment to education has been increased by my new identity as a mother.
Adventures in Quilting
Vikki Pendry
General Blogs
by Vikki Pendry @VictoriaPendry1 This was my first WomenEd conference and my first unconference, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect! I was drawn to the range of topics, especially those with an international texture which I felt would add some useful perspectives to improving ‘ways of working’ and community building. Values of collaboration and connection to inspire change and build confidence oozed out of every session! This was particularly helpful to experience as a newcomer.
So-ing and Patchwork Part 2.
Emma Turner
Flexibility
by Emma Turner @Emma_Turner75 Flexible working needs modelling at all levels of responsibility, and if we are to avoid so-ing, then leaders have a duty to analyse who their flexible workers are and to see if they are representative of all levels, pay grades and responsibilities across their organisations. If we are to see flex as a realistic and aspirational model then it needs modelling at all career stages and in all roles. Flexible working should be seen as just that, flexible; it should be seen as a chance to shape, mould and develop existing norms and to innovate. It should not be seen as a second rate option to the premier glory of full time. It should also not be associated with specific levels of responsibility or roles.
So-ing and Patchwork Part 1.
Emma Turner
Flexibility
by Emma Turner @Emma_Turner75 I am a mother of three small children and I work flexibly, part time, in education. Now read that sentence back. How many read the word, 'and' but heard or inferred 'so'? How many inferred that I work flexibly because of my children rather than the flexible working setup being seen as separate and unconnected and a proactive rather than a reactive choice? For too long and across too many aspects of our education sector (and our lives) our flexible workers’ choices are attributed a 'so' rather than an 'and. It is almost as if flexible working needs to be excused or explained by being prefaced by a reason for its very existence and accompanied by an unrequested but seemingly necessary apology for not working full time or in a traditional working pattern.
Being 10% Braver is possible!
Isabelle Ercan
10% Braver
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!
Imposter Syndrome: Will the real leader please stand up?
Biljana Torbakova
Imposter Syndrome
by Biljana Torbakova @btorbakova This unconference was my first experience of #WomenEd and it was a great one. Ironically, as I commenced my presentation on Imposter Syndrome, or Imposter Feeling (which for me is a better way to describe these temporary feelings), I felt like an Imposter at that particular moment! We have so much unlearning ahead of us.
Soy #ÉlporElla para un mundo donde poder ser YO
Micky Dominguez
Unconscious Gender Bias
by Micky Dominguez   @micky_dominguez Martes, 9.30 de la noche, cuando ya el día parece llegar a su fin. Me siento en mi escritorio, delante del papel y el lápiz y me pregunto: ¿qué me convirtió en un #HeforShe? ¿Qué me hace defender y reivindicar la igualdad entre géneros? Cualquiera que haya sentido en su vida cualquier tipo de discriminación, ya sea por su género, su procedencia o sus preferencias de vida, sabe perfectamente cómo se siente una persona a la que le cierran puertas o valoran sus iniciativas desde una perspectiva de género.
Why helping others can be the help you need yourself
Nicola Mooney
Leadership
by Nicola Mooney @nicksnook   This is a short reflective blog on why standing together is important.   One year ago today I received this message:
Women, Leadership and Sectoral Ceilings?
Mairead Mhig Uaid
Leadership
by Mairead Mhig Uaid @MaireadMhigUaid For almost a quarter of a century, I have worked in the Irish Medium education sector in the north of Ireland/Northern Ireland. An immersion education system established here just over 50 years ago, it has doubled in size across each phase in the last 15 years to almost 7,000 pupils . Recommendations for development in 2008 by the Department of Education for Northern Ireland have seen limited progression. The sector is small and education here is a devolved issue.
The table
Lisa Hannay
General Blogs
by Lisa Hannay @lhannay1 Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman to be elected to congress and was a formidable force for women’s rights, equal rights as well as a voice for minorities and for those who did not have anyone speaking on their behalf. Shirley coined the phrase well used today, 'If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair'.
Finding our voice
Jackie Hill
General Blogs
by Jackie Hill @hill1_jackie Losing your voice “I’ve lost my voice - again” – it kept happening for 2 years. At first, it was funny (sort of) but that changed, as it could take weeks for it to return fully. I tried different treatments, but nothing worked permanently.  My GP said the best treatment was simply not to talk!! Well, I found that practically impossible...! I learned just how dependent I am on my voice and how, without it, I felt disempowered and left out.
Leading through values
Christina Watson
Leadership
By Christina Watson @cmw_kendal     Photo credit The Falkland Islands – Sunset Saturday 26 September Saturday 26th September saw our first @WomenEdFalkland event: a morning thinking about Values- Led Leadership. What a morning it was: full of collegiality, wisdom and optimism.  @RRamaito kicked us off via Skype from Rome, encouraging us in “Leading from your soul and not your role”. She reminded us that when leadership is defined by the impact of powerful and positive behaviours, that inspire, engage and empower ourselves and others to live out our persistent values, then we create a culture that is brave, open, flexible, generous and nurturing. Values- led leadership leads to empowered colleagues, embraces diverse talents and makes space for agile responsive leadership. We are in!

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