Researching #WomenEd and deciding the way forward


“#WomenEd is a grassroots movement that encourages our community to be 10%braver. Finding and using our voice is part of us all leaning in. Amplifying the voices of others is how to nurture and develop aspiring leaders. This collective voice and crowd-sourced solutions to the challenges we face as women in education are part of our #BeBoldForChange ethos. So use your voice to inform and shape our future direction.” @misswilsey

Since the #WomenEd initiative began, with @staffrm posts from @helenamarsh and me two years ago, thousands of women, and a number of men, have become involved.  Many have engaged online through Twitter, Yammer, @staffrm and the world of blogging.  Some have met face-to-face through regional networks and events.  Hundreds have attended the annual ‘unconferences’, so called because they are different from standard educational conferences with invited speakers.  At the #WomenEd unconferences, anyone who wants to lead a session is also a delegate, and gains as well as gives.  Everyone contributes to #WomenEd.  Everyone benefits.

The first unconference in London in October 2015 was brilliant, I thought – energising, hugely supportive, warm and empowering. The second, in Reading in October 2016, was, in my view, even better, because so many attendees from the previous year returned to say how #WomenEd had made a difference to their lives.  They talked about how they had felt braver and more confident, and had acted (professionally, and sometimes in their personal lives) with greater confidence and self-assurance as a result of what they had gained from the network. The next unconference is in Sheffield on Saturday 30th September, 2017. Do join us!

Now @kayfuller from the University of Nottingham is conducting research, and I am supporting her, which is a joy and a privilege. We are investigating why a network was needed for women leading in education, and the role of social media in the growth of #WomenEd.  It is hoped that we will discover some of the impact #WomenEd has had on individuals and their practice in the last two years.

If you have not yet done so, please complete the online survey and share it with others so we achieve a healthy response rate. The more data we have, the more useful the survey will be, and it will help us analyse how far #WomenEd has come and where it might go next. Thank you!

“Two years ago we started with a plan to have a different kind of conference to support and empower aspiring and existing women leaders and to help women’s voices be heard; we didn’t know what would happen after that. We have learned to be #10%braver and to #BeBoldForChange and we are amazed by the growth and reach of the #WomenEd community. This research is going to tell us the depth and impact so, please, everyone who feels part of #WomenEd, complete the survey to help us grow further.” The national leads: @vivienne @misswilsey@equitableed‍ @jules @keziah

Photo credit: #WomenEdWM Coventry, 11 March 2017. Mark Woodward Photography

Author Profile

Jill Berry

Jill Berry

Former head, now an educational consultant. Interested in supporting aspiring leaders at all levels.

53 stories


Vivienne Porritt Vivienne Porritt @vivienne 6 months ago
Thanks for this, @jillberry and the research that you and @kayfuller are doing will be invaluable to us. One of our aims was to be research informed and this research will support us in achieveing this. Your last paragraph was written by all 5 of the national leaders and it is a joy to collaborate with this group of brilliant and empowering women @equitableed @keziah @misswilsey @jules

So we all hope that everyone fills in the survey to help us see where we have come from and where we need to go.
Hannah Wilson Hannah Wilson @misswilsey 6 months ago
@jillberry the research you & @kayfuller are doing is vital in informing & shaping the future for #womened. We are community led & our #collectivevoice is strong, getting louder by the day. Well done on the initial posts from you & @helenamarsh, the contributions from you both & @nataliescott, the momentum that has been built by the steering group @vivienne @keziah @jules @equitableed and the time, energy & effort invested by everyone who volunteers there time to make #womened what it is & what it has become. Special thanks to our existing Regional Leaders @caradhpert @jenjaynewilson @damsoned @vjofarrell @catsalt @soo @awilliams @formationpeople @kayfuller @northantsteach @helenamarsh @jazampawfarr @leahkstewart @butterflycolour @vanessawhitcombe @kerry @naomiw @summer @allanag13 @byusuf @sarahhardy @mshmfl @mcgillycuddy101 @misspenny can't find Maria, Ruth, Claire to tag! Excited to be expanding our regional teams to welcome in new regional leaders next Month! X
Fiona McSorley Fiona McSorley @fifi 6 months ago
Whatever the stage of your career #WomenEd has the potential and the collective power to make a difference to the careers of women leaders in education. I have been honoured to have met and worked with @misswilsey @vivienne @jillberry and witnessed first hand the power and support that emanates from #teachmeets and #unconferences. I am encouraging our teaching staff to participate and complete the questionnaire. Great things lie ahead! Many thanks to all involved and I look forward to meeting even more talented ladies!
Helen Pengelly Helen Pengelly @happyteachers 6 months ago
All teachers are leaders. My family always come first so I wanted to be the best classroom teacher I could be. Having grown up seeing how my dad was at the end of each term put me off going for school leadership too. I think the key is helping everyone, male and female, to be happy whatever career path they choose and live the life they love.
Let's stop focusing on what makes us different and on our common humanity instead. Some of the questions in that survey were ludicrous!
Jill Berry Jill Berry @jillberry 6 months ago
Many thanks @vivienne (will tweak the post), @misswilsey and @fifi - and it was a real pleasure to work with your aspiring senior leaders, Fiona. Here's hoping the survey gets a good response. I know you're all doing your bit!
Jill Berry Jill Berry @jillberry 6 months ago
Thanks for the comment, @happyteachers, and sorry you weren't happy with some of the survey questions - but all views are gratefully received!
Helen Pengelly Helen Pengelly @happyteachers 6 months ago
Hi @jillberry it wasn't so much that I wasn't happy with them but they were pc to the point of being hilarious. Perhaps I'll find some good comedy material there :)
Julie Hunter Julie Hunter @mshmfl 6 months ago
I still remember the journey through the forest you led us on at the unconference @jillberry it's one of my most favourite sessions. When in doubt I find myself picturing the images your talk conjured up.
Natalie Wilcox Natalie Wilcox @natw 6 months ago
I'm really interested in the outcome of this because I know the impact it has had on me in my role. Collating the responses will be fascinating and I suspect there may be some emotional stories in there! Good luck with the rest of the research!
Anoara Mughal Anoara Mughal @ano 6 months ago
Thank you all for setting this up. I'd only heard of#WomenEd a few months ago and found that it had an immense impact on my career progression. Once I have calmed down, I will write a blog about it. I hope to inspire others into leadership as my way of saying thank you.
Jill Berry Jill Berry @jillberry 6 months ago
I hope the old woman advised you well, @mshmfl!
Jill Berry Jill Berry @jillberry 6 months ago
I look forward ro reading your blog in due course, @ano.
Jill Berry Jill Berry @jillberry 6 months ago
Thanks for the support, @suz. It's actually @kayfuller who is the driving force!
Victoria O'Farrell Victoria O'Farrell @vjofarrell 6 months ago
Sorry for the delay in commenting! I'm so looking forward to the outcome and findings of your essential research. It's going to be vital in continuing to support and empower aspiring women leaders and those who are established leaders too. The work of #womened has had such positive impact on so many individuals and groups of people- brilliant work by all those involved!
Clare Erasmus Clare Erasmus @cerasmusteach 5 months ago
Great work Jill. This is such an exciting organisation, I am expecting your research To be the first of many. Great to see you setting the pace and direction. I have a great sense of humour but did not see anything ludicrous or hilarious about the survey......I think you have to have connected in some way with WomenEd to understand the relevance of the survey questions. X
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