The world would be a better place if people acted more like women, a leading girls’ school head will say today.
No one should feel they have to “be like a man” Heather Hanbury will say, as she sings the praises of typically feminine talents such as collaboration, empathy and relationship-building.
“We all need to unleash our feminine side – it’s proven this is pivotal for society to become truly great,” she will tell the annual conference of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA).
Heather Hanbury, head of the Lady Eleanor Holles School in Hampton and this year’s president of the GSA, will say: “It’s absolutely time to finally acknowledge that working like girls and women is a great way to work and live. I’ve had enough of being told otherwise. No one should feel they have to ‘be like a man’ to succeed in life.”
Underlining statistics that confirm companies with higher female representation at leadership level perform better, she will say: “We all need to unleash our feminine side – it’s proven this is pivotal for society to become truly great. Much has been made of The Female Leadership advantage and quite rightly. The benefits of more women and girls achieving their ambitions are remarkable and the effects are real.”
She will say that women coming out of girls’ schools are “Dextrous and empathetic human beings who will disrupt the outmoded myopic, competitively driven alpha style culture that so often ends up in burnout.”
Mrs Hanbury will also outline the continuing importance of safe spaces for girls to learn in, saying that in girls’ schools pupils “are not side-lined or distracted by the static white noise in a world where the gender bias is an undercurrent”.
She will say: “We champion the best life chances for girls and young women by offering them educational spaces guaranteed to be free of gender bias and misogyny.
“This may be wearing women down in broader society but we are empowering them to find and use their voices, and best preparing them so that they can protect who they are, assert themselves without changing their behaviour, or feel they have to ‘be like a man’ to succeed.”
Mrs Hanbury will address more than 150 heads of both leading independent and state girls’ schools in the UK at their two-day GSA Conference this week in London.