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Allowing My Most Authentic Self to Rise

#DGmeet #WomenEd #Pledgeforchange20

Standing to face each new dawn – the rise of authenticity

for every woman.

As women or as #heforshe supporters, I am pledging my support for the celebration of authenticity in our lives.

It's more than OK to be wholly ME!

I have had three major setbacks in my career. Meaning they were seen as interruptions and as delays in my career, usually by males. Our Education, political and finance systems remain male dominated. We could have greater harmony with a unanimous system, one making decisions based on intuition and motivation, rather than historical majority rule led by a male dominance . That would allow new growth for an equal society.

The first Interruption in my career, was having my children, the second becoming divorced ( totally frowned upon at the time.) and the third becoming a main carer for my Father. Each time a male leader or authoritarian figure came to cast disapproval or judgemental opinions over me, shake his head and watch me leave my profession. Leaving was the only choice I had at the time. I wish I had been more able to stand up and be fully seen as the fabulous female leader I know I am. But I was hesitant and feeling truly overwhelmed by managing so many spinning plates and not being my usual 300%. Those are the two very feminine traits.

I now realise it could have been so different, I can see some changes in education and beyond, happening around maternity leave and in career options, though they are still slow. And I still read how much confidence young women feel they lose in being mothers or becoming leaders. Why oh why does our society not honour motherhood or any form of female caring?

If I had had someone around me who had both supported and celebrated my individuality, all of it, and had shown me my true choice, celebrated my motherhood, womanhood, my vulnerability in caring so much . My overwhelm in juggling life when the call home to family is momentarily out of balance and stronger than the call to work, it would have been wholly supportive. I would have thrived. Instead I chose from a space of patriarchal disapproval. I could not see clearly, I felt so much pressure.

We do not make our greatest choices when we feel under pressure – whatever the cause.

I cannot yet see enough change or support of those of us who thought our only choice was in giving up our career- where we might have been supported. There are leaders and teachers almost hounded out of the profession.

At my most vulnerable times - facing years of hospital visits, Mum dying and the final diagnosis of my Dad’s dementia turned my life upside down .I felt the weight upon my headship because it was pointed out to me. where once I had been praised for achieving an outstanding Ofsted and being one of the top 6 schools in the region, almost overnight as my own personal world overburdened me, and I was cast aside. The same thing happened to my successor sadly.

We don’t honour the role of head enough, support the person enough, nor value either the role or the person.

I do.

I created my business to do this. When I left headship I became ill, had major surgery and it impacted me greatly. I felt shame and wanted to hide. I searched for something to fill the hole that my leaving a role I loved and had given everything to create It.

My daughter was now my greatest guide. I had taught her the inner strength I had once felt, and now she held that torch high until I found my way Once more. Since that time I have had a co- headship, two interim executive headships and retrained as a transformative coach, championing school leaders. it has given me the strength to be more me!

Each major event in my life used to mean a reroute, a detour back to the beginning again - like falling down a snake in the game of snakes and ladders life chances. A setback when I least needed it. I now know that challenges and struggles are my gifts, strengths and why these experiences as a female have called me to be that most authentic voice to stand tall for other women.

And I hereby pledge to be there, at every sunrise, to stand up for women in the workplace, to help them to be the most authentic natural and true self possible. Enabling them to make their best choices possible. #TogetherWeCan