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Mrs Bowers' Thought for the Term

Posted on: 14/05/2021

DiversityDiversity and inclusion

In 2015 the New York Times published an analysis of the top companies in the USA and revealed the remarkable fact that there were more men called John leading these big companies than women. It’s a statistic that we can see repeated for the same roles in the UK and, even closer to home, in the leadership of multi-academy trusts where recently released data shows that of the top fifteen highest paid trust leaders across the country three are called John, whilst there are only five women in the top thirty.

I recently recalled this statistic, as I sat introducing myself to my fellow candidates at my latest interview for headship. Five candidates: four men - two of whom had the same name - and me.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was because throughout my time as a leader at St Birinus and Didcot Girls’ School I have never felt restricted in my opportunities as a female leader. The brilliant leadership team which I am currently a part of at St Birinus School is 50:50 male and female and we all bring different strengths and expertise to the table. I’m proud that the young people in all our schools have a range of models of what leadership can look like. 

Our ethos of student leadership in the Ridgeway Education Trust is similarly inclusive. We value participation in school life and kindness to others just as much as more ‘traditional’ leadership skills such as public speaking. We believe that we are all leaders in our own lives and that everyone has the capability to lead in their own way.

If you don’t currently see yourself as a leader, look around for your impact on the other people around you.  Ask your friends and family about the qualities they value in you. In our schools, I see many young people quietly doing the right thing, looking out for others, contributing in lessons, standing up for what they believe in, acting out our values. 

You are leaders too.

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