Vivienne Porritt

Co-Founder and National Leader of WomenEd. University College, London, Institute of Education
Speaking at


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.


I am one of the Co-Founders and National Leaders of WomenEd as well as an academic at UCL IOE (currently on academic leave researching how practitioners use or misuse impact evaluation.) I’m also privileged to be a Chair of Governors in a secondary school in Camden, London. Previously a Director for School Partnerships and Executive Director of the London Centre for Leadership and Learning at IOE as well as a former secondary Headteacher, I am passionate about bringing practitioners and researchers together to improve the learning of our young people and the leaders who serve them.