Vivienne Porritt

National leader of #WomenEd and Leadership consultant

Speaking at


The gender pay gap in education: fact or fiction?

What price equality? The gender pay gap in education hit the headlines in April 2018 as the sector posted the third worst pay gap of all sectors, with the mining sector being more equitable! What’s going on that means the difference between what men and women earn in academies is higher than the UK average? The causes of the gender pay gap are complex and we will explore the research which suggests why there is a gap as well as pointing to possible solutions. #WomenEd has highlighted this aspect since we began three years ago and the evidence suggests it won’t change in our lifetimes. Come and find out what we can all do to speed up the pace of change.


I am a co-founder and national leader of #WomenEd, a grassroots network which aims to redress the gender balance in education leadership. Our large network of volunteers is bringing about change in key issues including flexible working practices, the gender pay gap, increasing the number of women in senior leadership posts, especially in STEM areas and ensuring women’s voices are heard on education matters.

Currently I am a leadership consultant supporting school leaders on strategic learning and development and impact evaluation as well as women’s leadership. I was a headteacher, a chair of governors, Director for School Partnerships and Executive Director of the London Centre for Leadership and Learning at UCL Institute of Education.


Supporting and empowering women leaders through research

#WomenEd is a grass roots voluntary organisation that has grown to 10,000 followers in under 2 years. We believe one of the reasons we have grown is our underpinning commitment to use, apply and undertake research. We have drawn on a significant body of existing research to:
1. support aspiring and existing women leaders to quieten the fearful voices that, at times, can hold them back from leadership positions
2. offer ways to bring about changes in leadership perceptions and recruitment practice in educational organisations
3. challenge the systemic approaches that result in fewer women headteachers than we may expect, significant gender pay gaps, and inflexible practices that mean 27% of teachers leaving the profession are women aged 30-30.
The above research includes that of Becky Allen from DataLab, Dr Karen Edge of UCL IOE and Dr Kay Fuller of Nottingham University as well as research from the worlds of business, science, academia and media.
We are also engaged in new research based on the Impact of the DfE Leadership Diversity grants to schools across the county, the DfE Women Leading in Education networks as well as the work of Dr Kay Fuller and Jill Berry who are researching into why #WomenEd has grown, to whom it is attractive and the way in which social media has contributed.
Our session would enable leaders to use research to develop organisational practices and systems and so improve Leadership Diversity in our schools, colleges and universities.National