While working for the Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) as the Vice President Women, I utilized the “I Am the Change” grant to craft the Women’s Leadership Development Program (WLDP).
The program had two components – a large group meeting every other week for specialized training such as assertiveness, public speaking, and the attributes of leadership and small groups to unpack the training, practice the techniques, and encourage each other in their journey into leadership.
In developing the program I:
- created the structure of the program
- selected the facilitators and participants
- wrote the facilitator manual
- trained the facilitators
- wrote the small group manual
- spoke to the large group on Leadership as one specialized session
- schedule three speakers to train the participants on assertiveness, public speaking, and negotiation
- supervised the facilitators throughout the program
- held a debrief and final group session
- collated feedback and surveys to report to grantors
The greatest achievement and compliment I received from this program was that one of the facilitators and a participant were so encouraged and empowered after the program, they ran for vice president roles with OUSU, were elected, and served their constituents well. The facilitator actually was elected as the Vice President Women, stepping into my role a year later and continuing WLDP.
OUSU continued the WLDP and in 2016, the University drew upon this program to initiate their work in the 2016 United Nations Women, HeForShe University initiative.
In the Impact 10x10x10 Parity Report, this is what the University of Oxford pledged to do:
Achieve one-third representation of women across all university senior leadership roles by 2020
IMPACT in Action:
The University of Oxford Evidence from the UK’s 30% Club suggests that
30% is a critical tipping point with respect to the representation of women10. With this in mind, The University of Oxford approved a suite of gender equality targets in 2014, including 30% representation of women in professorial roles, a bold increase from the 22% in 2015. As part of their commitment to HeForShe, The University of Oxford will extend the 30% aspiration across university leaders, to reach this threshold in all leadership and governance roles by 2020, including the senior management team and university decision- making bodies. The University of Oxford will also engage students to drive towards parity, working closely with Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) to improve the share of women in student leadership roles by expanding the OUSU Women’s Leadership Development programs, and supporting the pilot Women’s Mentoring Scheme (28, 112).