Posted on March 31st 2022
Women In Leadership - Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Female students aged 16-19 from across the Harris Federation Central Quadrant have come together over the last few months with The National Literacy Trust and Lancôme to explore breaking the glass ceiling.
The purpose of the Words for Work: Women in Leadership programme is to tackle the accumulative social disadvantage bred from gender, deprivation and literacy. Starting with a business masterclass, our girls were inspired by female Lancôme employees who explained their journey – beyond beauty roles – exploring careers in HR, finance, chemistry and photography. Our young women were introduced to their belief that ‘Happiness is the most attractive form of beauty’.
Shocked by the statistics that women only make up 1 in 20 of the FTSE100 CEOs; that only 21% of newspaper editors are female; and, that while 63% of teaching staff in secondary schools are female, only 38% are headteachers, our girls launched into action for their teacher-led literacy workshops, honing their CVs and developing thoughtful and passionate speeches ready to captivate audiences and affect change.
Women in Leadership panel
Two hundred of our young women then came together, face-to-face finally, to experience the Women In Leadership Panel. Six exciting panellists leading in areas such as publishing, law and design, and including an ex-Harris Crystal Palace student who now works in government to eradicate gender based violence and inequality, shared their incredible stories, broadening the future landscapes of our young people and proving to them that they can overcome anything with perseverance.
The panellists were brought to tears as students delivered their prepared speeches on stage, considering themes of shame, intersectionality, confidence and most of all equality. Our girls demonstrated through their words and delivery, that they will be the ones to change the statistics that appalled and motivated them in equal measure.
As part of the global Write Her Future initiative, our students have been introduced to some truly inspiring women – they have been authentic, aspirational and courageous, everything our young women need to be as they break through the glass ceiling!