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Female Leadership: Can You Have It All? by Rebecca Glover


Female Leadership

Rebecca Glover – Principal At Surbiton High School


Would A Man Be Asked To Write About Male Leadership?

As I start to write this the first thing that comes to mind is why? Would a man be asked to write about male leadership? Probably not… have we still not yet reached the point where it’s more the norm to have females represented at every leadership level. Obviously not. So why not?


Rebecca Glover on Sexism

Rebecca Glover on Sexism

The title of the piece I have decided to write probably goes some way to explaining why. As a female leader, can you have it all? A great job, family, marriage? As I look around my Leadership Team and the males and females that make up my Executive Team the answer may be no! Having worked on other leadership teams the balance between males and females has almost been equal. However, the balance of those women who are represented and whether they have families and marriage is less than equal. Indeed, in most cases the women I have worked alongside tend to be single and almost always without children. As the saying goes that a successful man needs a wife, a successful woman needs a nanny, cleaner, cook and driver… as well as a husband.


The Best Part of Any Day

As a Head for four years and a Principal for over a year, I have and continue to thoroughly enjoy my role. The sheer joy of leading and shaping the futures of young children makes my role exciting and every day brings a new challenge and a new experience. The best part of any day is simply being with the children. That said, leading one of the largest HMC and highly successful academic schools in the country does mean that more time is spent on strategy and heading up the organisation which includes 500 staff.

Sometimes as a female Head it can be a challenge to prioritise what comes next. I am a strong supporter in lifelong learning not only about my profession but also about myself. I have monthly meetings with a leadership coach, which helps me to refocus and gain a clearer perspective on what next. Interestingly, I am not sure a male leader would be so forthcoming with this information. Perhaps it is this openness and honesty that allows me to continue to develop. Reflective practice to me is an essential part of growth.


A Sense of Purpose

My role gives me a sense of purpose and a purpose is needed to feel fulfilled and genuinely content. It also challenges me and allows me to learn from others on a daily basis. The interactions with pupils, colleagues, parents, Governing Body members and outside agencies ensure that what we do as a School and what I do remains current, relevant and innovative. The “Ikigai” concept is a reason for being, which states that for true fulfilment a person has to do something they love, something they are good at, something the world needs and something one can make money from. Education and working with young people in a school allows me to achieve all of these.

holiday time is family time

holiday time is family time

Balancing Act

So how do I balance my work life with my home life? I have two amazing children both of school age and a husband who runs his own business. School holidays are absolutely family time with no compromises. We try where possible to leave work behind us and travel abroad for new experience, this helps us to regroup and bond again as a family.

Can I have it all? I could not achieve anything I do without the support I am given. I have two amazing PA s who keep me on the straight and narrow, a strong Senior Leadership Team and dedicated and committed team of staff and yes, I do have a cleaner, ‘ironer’ and at one time, a nanny!

I am a firm believer that women are nurturers, that is what is expected of us… but women have to find personal fulfilment. We have to follow our dreams and we have to say ‘I can do that’.
So I guess as a female, you can lead, with help!



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1 Comment

  1. Ebs

    Great insight Rebecca. Thanks for speaking about an area no one ever speaks about.


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