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!
When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.