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Impact of #WomenEd for me.


by Katie Ridgway @MissMeeks14  #BirthdayCelebration

At #WomenEd we often talk about impact and with the movement’s fifth birthday around the corner, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the profound impact being part of this group has had on me. 

This time two years ago I had never heard of #WomenEd, but lost in a twitter spiral one evening I found an advert for an event entitled ‘A Journey of Discovery’ which was being hosted at a local school by a group called Women Leading in Education. I attended alone, sat on a table at the front alone and listened to a talk by Mary Myatt and a group of other fantastic women about their journeys in teaching and leadership. This would be one of the last times I attended an event in solitude; one impact of the #WomenEd community is that it becomes very easy to make friends!

I had never felt so inspired so two weeks later I signed up for another event and on a scorching, sunny day in June I took a drive to Middlesbrough, caught up with the curiosity of what amazing stories I would hear at the regional summer conference.

From the moment I was handed a copy of ‘How Remarkable Women Lead’ I knew I had found a place I wanted to be. That day I became enthralled in the conversations surrounding the gender pay gap and reducing diminishing language. listened attentively and learnt a lot.

#WomenEd sparked a confidence in me to speak up, to have the confidence to try things even if I wasn’t sure that I would succeed (an alien concept to me!) and gave me the means to meet a plethora of brilliant, like-minded, inspiring people, including women I would grow to call mentors. I applied and was successful at interview for a role that had been my dream. I networked, read and talked about issues that were becoming enormously important to me. The following year I continued to attend Women Leading in Education sessions on preparing for leadership, privately pledging to be 10%braver with the help of #WomenEd. 

This completely changed when I successfully applied to the Inspiring Women leadership development project now led by @WomenEdNE and @NickiSmith11 at Nunthorpe Academy.

I found a real purpose here; I met a group of women I am proud to continue to work with today and my pledges have become more and more courageous. By International Women’s Day 2019 I was keen to highlight my now principle aim: to forge positive visibility of women in leadership. To do this I knew I needed to not only be empowered myself but empower others also.

I devoured 10%braver: Inspiring Women to Lead Education, on its release and found an affinity with its messages but most importantly the mantra of being 10% braver. I became fascinated by our needs as women to go above and beyond bravery and when I considered my own reasons, I became even more interested in thinking in a more intersectional manner about the needs of other women.

So, I volunteered to speak about the matter at the upcoming @WomenEdNE summer conference. I was astounded that this was one of the best attended voluntary sessions of the day.

From this, my involvement in #WomenEd has grown and grown. In the last 8 months I successfully requested the job title that I wanted, I have become a regional network leader for the North East of England, I have met some of my ‘EduTwitter’ sheroes, submitted two book chapter proposals and spoke at a #LeadMeet as part of #WomenEd’s Unconference at Sheffield Hallam University.

I continue to pledge to be 10% braver and, most importantly, to hold myself accountable for this, thanks to the impact of #WomenEd.

You are invited to our 5th birthday celebrations on May 19th. Book your free ticket for our online event and see you then!

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Tuesday, 23 July 2024

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