Four years ago today….
I was sitting in my flat in Sutton, reflecting on my Easter break, and where I was in my life and my career.
I started catching up on my notifications on Twitter and Staffrm as there had been a weekend long #slowchat about gender equality. I had recently connected with Helena Marsh who had written a blog entitled What Glass Ceiling? I was already connected with Jill Berry who had written a blog in response, and I had just met Natalie Scott via StaffRm, our stories had instantly resonated with each other. We connected with Vivienne Porritt via the comments on the Staffrm blogs and she brought Sameena Choudry, Jules Daulby and Keziah Featherstone into the conversation.
Fast forward a few weeks’ later and 6 strangers met for tea and cake to discuss gender equality and feminism.
Over a few hours in a Hilton hotel in Bracknell, a hashtag and a twitter handle were born.
There have been some interesting articles, blogs and tweets today about male MPs only following male politicians, about the ‘glass cliff’ for women leaders, and about women needing to own their accomplishments. Four years on we are still having the same conversations, but they are a lot louder and we do have a lot more testimonials of what is working to share.
This blog is me sharing my pride in being involved in such a fantastic community of committed educators.
April 2015-Mar 2016 #PledgeForParity:
- We started with 7 Co-Founders: Helena, Jules, Keziah, Natalie, Sameena, Vivienne and I
- Unconference I was held at Microsoft HQ in Victoria: our first event and 200 women in education attended, with 1 man there by choice
- We reduced to 5 National Leaders: Natalie and Helena stepped back
- Our community grew from 7 to a few thousand on twitter
- Our blogs on #womened became a regular contribution
- We articulated our vision and our values/ our 8 Cs
- We made a call out for Regional Leaders
April 2016-Mar2017 #BeboldForChange:
- 30 Regional Leaders stepped up to help us get the regional networks launched
- 12 regional networks were launched with their own handle, aligned to the DFE regions
- We held 1st birthday parties in April to mark our 1st year
- Unconference II was held at Microsoft in Reading: 250 attended and we had a #heforshe panel and contributors
- We launched the #womened app
- We held a series of #womened #leadmeets
- The WiE coaching pledge was launched by DFE and we worked in partnership with them
April 2017-Mar 2018 #PressForProgress:
- We expanded our Regional Networks and oriented more Regional Leaders – we now have more than 60 volunteers
- We launched international handles in the US, Netherlands, Italy, Canada, UAE, Czech Republic
- Unconference III was held at Sheffield Hallam University: 300 attended
- The WLIE networks were launched by the DFE and we aligned our activity to collaborate with them
- We held a series of #womened regional events
- We launched our #womened newsletter and our #womened blog
- We were nominated for a National Diversity Award
- We were named in the TES Top 10 Influencers
- We launched @WomenedBookclub and we kicked off with Mary Beard discussing her new book with our community
April 2018-Mar 2019:
- We have 18,000+ followers on Twitter
- We are curating a strand at Wellington Festival
- We are writing a book to be published by #IWD19
- Unconference IV is being planned for the Midlands in October
Four years on….
We have achieved so much and we need to remember that we are all volunteers, we all work full time as women leading in education.
When you stop and pause, when you reflect and think about everything we have done, we should be more than #10%prouder
So as we live and breath the #10%braver mantra. We now need need to embody the #10%prouder one too, as a community which is easier, and as individuals which is always harder.
We are much more comfortable saying “I am proud of you”.
We need to be as comfortable in saying “I am proud of me”.
We need to be brave, then we need to be proud, then we need to be loud!
I am proud of us #WomenEd and everything we have achieved. For everyone who has contributed in the last 4 years. Be proud, own it, celebrate it.
Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher
Currently feeling hopeful about:
- What we will achieve in the next year
- Where we will be in another 4 years time
Currently reading and thinking about:
- The Working Class – Ian Gilbert et al for our @WomenEdBookclub chat in a few weeks’ time
Currently feeling grateful for:
- The people I have met in the last 4 years through twitter, staffrm, events and #womened
- The time and energy that our community invest investment in our shared vision