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IWD 2024: Inspiring the next generation of leaders through well-being
Thu, 7th Mar 2024

As we celebrate International Women's Day 2024 under the resonant theme of 'Inspire Inclusion,' it's a good time to reflect on women's remarkable strides in leadership. Whilst it's clear that barriers exist, despite these challenges, the narrative surrounding women's leadership is evolving positively. Research consistently underscores the invaluable contributions of gender diversity in leadership, fostering collaborative, empathetic, and innovative work cultures.

In education and the rapidly growing field of Edtech, women are at the forefront of pioneering initiatives to nurture inclusive and supportive classroom environments. Designed with the needs of educators in mind, today, many apps in the classroom promote inclusivity. Edtech, like the GEC Collective platform, improves classroom inclusivity through GoBubble, which creates a safe social space for children to learn how to be kind on social media, and more recently, Lumii, which is a tool for early intervention tool to support pupils' mental health and well-being. 

By prioritising a holistic approach and cultivating a positive classroom atmosphere, teachers can achieve a calmer classroom, which we know improves attainment and enhances mental resilience among students.

The key to improving gender diversity in leadership is inclusivity. Girls need to feel 'they can' and empowered from a young age, instilling in them the belief that they can be leaders. This begins with fostering a safe, happy classroom environment that nurtures inclusivity and belonging. Equipping girls with essential skills such as resilience, positive self-image, and effective coping strategies will produce the next generation of empowered, open-minded female leaders.

Promoting well-being at all levels of the educational ecosystem and recognising the interconnectedness of teacher and student welfare should be at the forefront of any inclusivity plans for schools. In discussing mental health and well-being in children and adolescents, my professional and personal experiences converge, offering insights into the challenges and opportunities for fostering positive classroom well-being. From grappling with the post-pandemic mental health crisis to advocating for early intervention strategies, the imperative of creating inclusive, supportive school cultures cannot be overstated.

Today, digital tools can play a pivotal role in this challenge; they can help already overstretched teachers deliver impactful, accessible solutions for transforming mental health support in education. By leveraging technology, we can scale well-being initiatives effectively, ensuring every student has access to the resources needed to thrive.

Furthermore, supporting teachers' mental health is paramount; as educators navigate increasing workloads and demands, it's essential to prioritise self-care and provide avenues for support. By fostering collaboration between schools, mental health services, and community resources, we can create comprehensive support networks that address the diverse needs of students and educators alike.

As we celebrate International Women's Day 2024, let us pledge to inspire inclusion in the classroom, empowering girls to be the next generation of leaders and providing supportive educational environments where everyone can thrive. 

Together, we can create a happier and more inclusive future for all.