Connecting women leaders


Five women having afternoon tea on a Sunday, very normal, yes? These particular five women, however, were planning to build on an amazing grass roots response to a series of blogs @staffrm about women leaders in education.

It began when @helenamarsh‍ asked What glass ceiling? and @jillberry‍ followed this with Lost Leaders asking how to encourage more women to make the leap to leadership. Over a Twitter weekend came the suggestion that we should have ‘a little conference’. I collated the ideas and offers of support in a third blog, Women leaders: making the leap and asked whether people wanted to join in. Then it exploded. That blog has had over 3400 views and its sequel, updating people two weeks later, has had over 2300 views. This suggests that, for women in education who are or who aspire to be leaders,

we have a real need for our voices to be heard, to connect with each other and for our aspirations to be achieved.

WomenEd has been born out of a recognition that women leaders are not represented sufficiently in education. Only 25% of all professors in our universities are women. If the number of female headteachers reflected the educational workforce, there would be 1,739 more female heads, Jill Berry’s lost leaders. 

We know the challenges and barriers which stop women finding their way to leadership are complex and interconnected. And there are still sexist behaviours and attitudes, whether conscious or unconscious, in our everyday experience which hold both women and men back. And for women from ethnic minority backgrounds, for example, the barriers become higher. 

Take a look at The Everyday Sexism Project ( and #genderedcheese on Twitter if you think sexism has gone away.

Who are we?

The original Co-Founders of WomenEd are:

Sameena Choudry@equitableed 

Jules Daulby @jules‍ 

Keziah Featherstone @keziah‍ 

Helena Marsh @helenamarsh‍ 

Natalie Scott @nataliehscott

Vivienne Porritt @vivienne‍ 

Hannah Wilson @misswilsey‍ 

Twitter: @WomenEd, #WomenEd



Original blogs:

What do we want to achieve?

We want to capitalise on the outpouring of interest in WomenEd. So, to kick this off, we will have an unconference on 3rd October 2015 in London and we are delighted that Microsoft have kindly donated their offices for this. Our ultimate aim is the kind of education network for women leaders that female business leaders have – we really do want to ‘lean in’ (Sheryl Sandberg).

We hope this is the start of more women putting themselves forward for leadership roles at all levels of education. We want to support the leaky leadership pipeline by stimulating and connecting opportunities for women to develop their leadership skills.

What can you do?

Follow @WomenEd

Read the blogs

Share the blogs with others

Let us know how you are supporting women to become leaders

Highlight WomenEd in your newsletters so lots of women beyond Twitter hear about this

We want to connect aspiring and existing leaders to have the confidence and belief in their ability to lead as a woman. Do join us.

UPDATE - ways to engage with #womened‍ 

Author Profile

Vivienne Porritt

Vivienne Porritt

Co-Founder & National leader @WomenEd I Chair of Governors | Working with schools on impact, professional learning & development, vision, strategy and leadership, especially women's leadership

24 stories


Natalie Scott Natalie Scott @nataliescott 2 years ago
I'm so excited to be part of this. To celebrate I think that all #womened supporters teaching in schools should take a week off. Go crazy. Focus on their work/life balance. Register their interest. I might spend mine buying some new red shoes.
Jules Daulby Jules Daulby @jules 2 years ago
3rd October is in the diary; childcare sorted and booked into London friends for sleepover - really exciting.
Hannah Wilson Hannah Wilson @misswilsey 2 years ago
Thanks for pulling it altogether in this post @vivienne - the links do not seem to be working as they should be blue if they are interactive? I will give you a ring when I get back re a date to go to Microsoft.

We are hoping that lots of female leaders will join us and the #WomenEd network via Twitter, Staffrm, Facebook and LinkedIn.

I will pull together the regional networks in a post this week.

Everyone enjoy a well-deserved week off. #wellbeing #nurture
Vivienne Porritt Vivienne Porritt @vivienne 2 years ago
But some amazing shoes @nataliescott ! Terrific organisation, @jules
Thanks @misswilsey - how do I make them interactive , couldn't figure it out! Let's all get the word out and join in!
Tracey Ralph Tracey Ralph @tracey 2 years ago
Fantastic! Thank you all. Can't wait
Vivienne Porritt Vivienne Porritt @vivienne 2 years ago
Hi @staffrm trying to make links in this story interactive once I did it on a PC rather than ipad. Made some blogs link and not others and can't get link to writers - Help!
Vivienne Porritt Vivienne Porritt @vivienne 2 years ago
Hi @staffrm - update! managed to link to all the blogs above by using the hyperlink tool. think I could use this for all the names but more laborious than the embedded link - I cant make that work? Not the link to the writer on occasions. Any ideas?
Lesley Munro Lesley Munro @lesleymunro 2 years ago
It's in my diary!
Jeremy Burton Jeremy Burton @jeremyburton 2 years ago
Hi @vivienne and sorry about the trouble you've been having getting colleague mentions to auto link in your story - there's a bug in the current system. We'll be applying a fix in the next few days.
Abigail Mann Abigail Mann @abster 2 years ago
So exciting! Will register now. Thanks for all the hard work ladies :-)
Jules Daulby Jules Daulby @jules 2 years ago
Brill - think it's going to be a great day. Two great #womened registered yay
lucy starbuck braidley lucy starbuck braidley @lucysb 2 years ago
I am so excited to read this - it comes at a time when I'm questioning what direction I want to move in in my career. I would really like to attend the event.
Keziah Featherstone Keziah Featherstone @keziah 2 years ago
This is an important journey and I can't fathom how it's not happened until now.
Vivienne Porritt Vivienne Porritt @vivienne 2 years ago
It's great to build on the momentum - and shape the support that is best for us.
Sean McDermott Sean McDermott @scjmcd 2 years ago
Sounds terrific. About to follow you now. I know, with the quality of oeople on board that this will be an incredible success.
Hannah Wilson Hannah Wilson @misswilsey 2 years ago
Share with non-social media female leaders everybody. Fliers to follow for noticeboards!
Vivienne Porritt Vivienne Porritt @vivienne 2 years ago
Delighted this is supporting you @lucysb - hope you have registered your interest!
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