#WomenEd Strand 2018

  • Curated by #WomenEd
  • Seven sessions on Day Two
  • Over 15 speakers
  • From BAME representation to Gender Pay Gap

This year the Festival is delighted to host a dedicated strand curated by the grassroots movement #WomenEd. Taking place on day two of the Festival the strand will cover issues such as female BAME representation in educational leadership (research and statistics), the gender pay gap and Punk Leadership. Across the day there will be seven sessions from #WomenEd. #WomenEd is a grassroots movement in education lead by five national leaders. Leaders are all volunteers, who otherwise work full time in education. They began to support existing and inspiring female leaders in all sectors of education. #WomenEd has campaigned on issues such as the disproportionate amount of male leaders in a female dominated profession, unconscious bias and imposter syndrome which can prevent many women applying for promotions.

Brought to you by #WomenEd

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#WomenEd Sessions

Session 1 – @WomenEd_Tech – Exploring career progression in EdTech

 Panel Q&A : An exploration of digital opportunities for women in EdTech.

Session 2: MPs Panel – Do women in politics still have to adapt to a male arena?

Chaired by Jules Daulby this panel of MPs will explore being a woman of influence and what challenges and successes they have experienced.  There will be time for Q&A from the audience.

Session 3: Punk Leadership


School leadership is becoming awfully compliant; flat-pack headteachers and homogenised leadership teams. When did all this conformity ever bring about any lasting change? Punk Leadership is about finding your inner punk – your own way of doing things in your own context. It is about being brave enough to do what is right rather than just doing what you’re told. We can PiXL, ResearchED and John Hattie the hell out of our profession but sometimes you already know what you must do in your gut.

Session 4 – Women: like men, only cheaper

In 2018, gender still influences and determines the experience of women leaders in education.  This is especially seen in the gender pay gap between men and women in senior leader and headteacher positions. This session will share the data on the pay gap, explore the potential causes and exchange strategies to bring about change. 

Session 5 – Drilling through concrete ceilings

Being an ethnic minority woman increases the barriers women leaders face. With regards to secondary education we know that only round about 38% of heads are female compared to over 70% of the teaching workforce overall. However, when we look at ethnicity we can see that the situation is even more dire.  DfE statistical release figures (June 2016) show that only 3.7% of secondary heads come from Black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds compared to 3.2% in primary and 3.1% in special schools. Meanwhile, due to the slow pace of change at the top, the gap between the diversity of our pupil population and our leadership in secondary education is rapidly widening.  Over time the proportion of pupils from BME backgrounds has been steadily increasing. DfE data for 2016 shows that in primary schools, 31.4% of pupils are of BME backgrounds which was an increase from 30.4% in January 2015. In secondary schools, 27.9% of pupils are of minority ethnic origins, an increase from 26.6% in 2015.  It is evident that unless concerted action is taken to close this widening gap the situation will continue to worsen.
This session will focus on research undertaken by Sameena with support from Leeds Beckett University and Northern Lights Teaching Schools Alliance in which BME female secondary heads and senior leaders share their experiences by outlining the barriers they have faced and more importantly, the enablers that have facilitated their success.  It is hoped that this research will provide a blueprint to support more BME women who aspire to school leadership to progress in their careers and lead the way in diversifying the leadership of our schools.

Session 6: From Zero to Shero

#WomenEd was founded over tea.  Three years later this grassroots network has over 16000 followers, was mentioned in a DFE green paper, nominated for a diversity award and in 2017, as one of the Top 10 Educational Influencers voted by TES. How did they do it?