It was two summers ago when I first engaged with WomenEd, I followed them via Twitter, it soon became October and the first Unconference which I also followed online. I read of empowerment, and new found confidence and support for women who wanted to develop themselves and lead. To be honest, at first I was very cynical about it all, a feminist grown in the 80's on a diet of 'Spare Rib' and Greenham Common, I thought that having an organisation with 'Women' in the title was too old school, too divisive, not focusing enough on all the groups who may be disadvantaged in some way... but I was wrong. I followed, I got involved with my region, attended the second Unconference and lost a bit of my cynicism along the way
Yes, we are all people first, and yes there is more about us that is the same than different but WomenEd has enabled women to find their voices, their confidence and leadership. It has enabled us to make more demand that the system changes to provide equal opportunities. It is helping us to create an education system more representative of us, it is consolidating the concept that there is more than one way to lead (I feel another post coming on discussing leadership attributes)!
When people find their voices they want to join with other like-minded people to make those voices louder in order to get noticed and say "hold on there, this is 2017, this is not good enough, we want presence and influence too"
WomenEd lit the 'blue touch paper', sparkled, shone and shouted we want things to change and we want it now. Before long WomenEd was being quoted in a White Paper, Coaching Pledges were made and funds were realised for Women Leading in Education Projects. Women were finding their voices, their strength and talents and making things happen for each other.
When consciousness is raised you can't put it back in a box and it can only ever lead to others finding their passion, their truth and their voices too. This explains the momentum of #WomenEd, leading to #BAMEed, leading to #LGBTed and only a week ago #DisabilityEd.
So what impact as WomenEd have over the past two years? It has enabled people to question the 'status quo', given all kinds of people the strength and courage to start shouting "We are teachers, we are leaders, WE ARE HERE!!!