Leading Women

The Head's Study

"I hope that by the time our Year 7 2021 cohort take their place in the Head Girl hustings our pledge to help girls make their mark will have ensured no one will doubt their potential to lead."”
Mrs Kate Reynolds, Head

Last week, Year 6 admissions interviews segued seamlessly into the Sixth Form Leadership hustings with our prospective Head Girls sharing their manifestos. It has been striking how similar the two bookends of the Senior School have proved to be as regards leadership potential.

The data on women in leadership is copious and varied but one statistic that rings a chord with so many of us is the stark contrast between the aspirations of young girls and the extent to which these are realised. I have mentioned before, the parity between boys and girls up to the age of eight; how similar numbers aspire to be leaders when they are older. Young girls, in particular, are drawn to leadership by their desire to help others and to make a difference. After the age of eight, a falling away of confidence coupled with an increase in competition means that, by adolescence, significantly fewer girls wish to lead. Fast forward to business and we see this is borne out if we look at the percentage of female CEOs in FTSE 100 companies; currently 5%.

Whilst I appreciate these are only headlines, and behind every statistic is the context that provides meaning, I am sure most of us have witnessed how girls can lose their self-belief and the impact this can have on their willingness to take risks and step outside of their comfort zone.

All schools provide leadership training but what strikes me about the GDST route is the way that so much time is dedicated to this; not just an away day of team building nutrition but a week-long programme of talks and tasks. In addition, the focus on aspirational role models to help prepare students for leadership beyond school makes GDST girls work-ready with a skills-set to carry to their chosen career. If you missed Mathura and Natasha’s accounts of the GDST Future Leaders Week last month it makes for an inspirational read.

Fresh on the back of our ‘win’ in the race to Royal High School Edinburgh and continuing in our vein of Sport for All we are pleased to announce the GDST Get Active competition that will run for the duration of February. It is open to all staff, pupils, parents and alumnae from across the GDST network. We need your help! Every km you record will increase the total for RHS Bath and push us up the weekly leader board. More details to follow but for the time being, dust down that bike, those running shoes, that kayak or those goggles, start limbering and await starter’s orders for Monday 1 February.

Mrs Kate Reynolds, Head