Monday, June 20, 2011

Women who lead

On Tuesday, June 21, 2011, I'll have the chance to discuss a fascinating question with a small group of women from other NC independent schools. Why aren’t more women moving up the ranks of leadership in independent school communities to become school heads?

The question was posed in the opening of an article in the Fall 2010 edition of Independent School Leadership by Susan Feibelman and Martha Haakmat titled: A Gendered Experience.

When I read the article, I discussed it with a number of other women working in independent schools. I can only imagine that many others did the same. Shortly afterwards, in December, a TED talk (embedded at the end of this post) by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg titled Why we have too few women leaders went viral, at least among the same group. Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions -- and offers 3 powerful pieces of advice to women.

Sandberg alludes to some cultural factors that Feibelman and Haakmat describe in their article:

The low number of women leaders, it turns out, is directly connected to cultural attitudes toward women as leaders.

Two women with successful school headships in their careers will keynote this gathering of women interested in learning more about leadership in independent schools. They are:

Sandra Adams, Former Head of Summit School

Doreen Kelly, Head of Ravenscroft School

As is my wont, I'll be liveblogging the keynote addresses and possibly some of the later sessions as well, right here, starting at 9:15.

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