You cannot be what you cannot see: we need more female role models in international education
“The most senior positions, especially in the big chain outfits, are filled by men. Older, white, middle class men”
Ella Tyler, managing director of Mountlands Language School in the UK and co-founder of Lead5050, writes about how she was inspired to take action after realising women in leadership aren’t visible enough in the industry.
First of all, let me just say that I absolutely love working in this industry. I mean, come on, where else do you get to travel the world, meet really interesting, funny people and contribute to the future of the globe through education?
But, as in most industries, it does seem to be that the most senior positions, especially in the big chain outfits, are filled by men. Older, white, middle class men.
Even for someone like me, who is not backward in coming forward, this can be intimidating – even subconsciously. For years I sat through conferences and panel discussions at Studyworld and ICEF and it never crossed my mind for one second that I should be up there on that stage.
It wasn’t even on my radar. Why? Because there was no one there that I could relate to.
“I believe wholeheartedly in the power of positive role models and that ‘you cannot be what you cannot see’”
It wasn’t until I saw Leanne Linacre on a panel discussion at ICEF Berlin, that I thought – ‘that looks like something I could do.’ As I sat there I actually looked at the other members of the panel, and I thought – yes, I could be up there just as much as they could – I’ve got as much experience and as much knowledge to share. And now I have put myself forward for several speaking events.
I believe wholeheartedly in the power of positive role models and that ‘you cannot be what you cannot see’.
This is why I have co-founded Lead5050 with Maria Castro from Linguland and Leanne Linacre from LILA*. It’s a networking and mentoring group that has sprung from this need to celebrate women’s success in our industry and hold them up as examples for the younger generations coming through.
On October 28, we are holding the first Women in International Education Awards at the Hotel Intercontinental in Berlin. We hope that this will become a regular event in the industry calendar and will allow us all to join together and celebrate the fantastic achievements of the amazing women in International Education, and encourage others to do the same.