Women Ed is a global grassroots movement that connects aspiring and existing women leaders in education and gives women leaders a voice. It initially began in 2015 with the aim to connect women leaders on Twitter. Over the five successful years that it has been operational, Women Ed has been able to; connect, support and empower women leaders in education; give women a voice in education policies and practices, and to work to improve the gender balance between women and men at senior level.
Our values known as the 8 Cs:
WomenEd MENA is based in the Middle East and North Africa. At the moment we have four Network Leads and are in the process of expanding further. Our aim is to embody the values of WomenEd through championing, encouraging and creating opportunities for networking, growing and developing others.
The overall mission is for more women in education to have the choice to progress their leadership journey and support them where possible.
10% braver is at the heart of our blueprint. Using each other’s stories and experiences to demonstrate successes and support followers with practical advice and examples through empowering and supporting their journey.
Despite COVID-19 pausing some of our developments and plans of face to face conferences, we have still managed to connect with women across our area to share their stories and learn about different examples of success through webinars and Twitter chats. Some of these have included women struggling to find the position that fits them, having issues with imposter syndrome, needing practical advice with CVs/interviews and overcoming barriers such as childcare and marriage. We present profiles for each of our guest speakers which are shared on social media, creating excellent opportunities for connecting with other like-minded people across the globe – not just the immediate region. WomenEd is not just for women. Men are invited and encouraged to share their voices, experiences and questions too! Many men have attended our sessions and have also been a voice for championing and celebrating equality for women #heforshe being the hashtag for the movement where men can support women.
WomenEdMENA aims to establish networks in each country, in both Arabic and English, to share ideas and introduce female educators in the MENA region. In addition, it seeks to provide solutions for the challenges that face women in these countries and beyond, particularly but not exclusive to leadership. Essentially, it provides a platform where we can share thoughts, issues and support each other.
What we have achieved so far:
We have started to build a network with women in our region and have started hosting informal conversations with women to share their journeys. This has been hugely successful with alternate sessions in Arabic and English which cater to all.
Participants have shared how they were motivated by hearing 10% braver chats which encourage them to lean in. These conversations helped to reflect on their practices and redefine leadership in their different contexts. “We don’t need to change the world in everything we do but these steps will change the world one day.”
Some examples of our conversations:
In our first live conversation Maha AlRemahi and Zainab Osama shared examples of how they further expanded their educational leadership practice by being 10% braver to achieve success.
The second chat was with Reem Abu Harb and Natasha Hilton, they shared examples of how they utilised resources and networks in every country they worked in. They talked about some of the challenges they faced and provided practical advice for those in similar situations.
Rima Muhsin and Amna AlBalushi, shared how they influenced others through various platforms and how they focused on a work-life balance.
Our most recent conversation was with Dr. Mayamin and Eman Saaldadin who both shared their experiences in challenging political climates and how they were 10% braver. All recordings are available on our Twitter thread @WomenEdMENA
We have also held Twitter live chats. Our first included one of our Network Leads; Rania Sawalhi which discussed her awarded study Altharwa AlNaema to empower young females and develop their leadership skills. The program is based on a study and implemented in 3 cities in KSA
Our upcoming events include a book club and face to face sessions that will all be announced through our Twitter page.
Our current Network Leads:
Future aims and ideas:
WomenEd MENA will continue to build networks in each country in the Middle East and North Africa, in both Arabic and English, to share ideas and support other colleagues in education. We aim to hold opportunities for networking and support with practical solutions for individuals, on their various journeys in the near future – watch this space!
How can you get involved and what can MENA do?
We would love to hear from you if you are in the MIddle East or North Africa. Once COVID-19 has passed, we will host conferences in various countries – perhaps you could support or get involved in your specific area.
For further information and up and coming dates, join us on Twitter @womenedmena or email us directly at; firstname.lastname@example.org