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Can education help to address the gender gap?

Sheffield High School’s parent organisation, the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) is holding its annual conference in London on 12 June. The theme of this year’s conference is A rocky road to the top: grit, resilience, and the path to female leadership and will address the role of schools in helping pupils to develop the character traits to help them succeed in their later lives and careers. Let us hear your thoughts on this!

Let us hear your thoughts!

If you are or were a GDST pupil or if you’re a GDST teacher, you can take part too! Let us have your thoughts on these questions –


  • What qualities did you learn at your school that you use in leadership roles now?
  • What qualities do you feel girls in school now need to learn to ensure they are successful leaders of the future?


  • If you had the opportunity to be the leader of anything, what would you lead?
  • Who are the female leaders you currently admire and why?


  • How do you support girls in the development of their leadership skills?

How can you respond?

There are two ways in which you can respond –

1. You can respond directly in a tweet, including the hashtag #GDSTwomenlead in the tweet, e.g. #GDSTwomenlead – I admire Rosemary Squire because she is a fantastic entrepreneur who happens to be an @GDST and @SheffieldNottm alumna!

2. Or you can present your views via a different platform allowing a more in-depth answer. This could be in the form of –

  • A blog entry
  • Recording a video (and uploading it to You Tube or Vimeo)
  • Writing an item for our school website

Let’s hear what you have to say!

Background to this year’s conference While girls tend to be high achievers, both academically and in other spheres, in school and at University, too often that early potential does not translate into greater professional achievement once they enter the workplace.

The conference this year will consider whether girls can be taught or inculcated with the sort of qualities that characterise leaders – like grit, resilience, risk-taking, adaptability, self-belief – in school. If so, how and where can this be done – in the classroom, in the gym or the sports field, through extra-curricular enrichment – are these attributes that can be taught directly or are they necessarily a by-product of other aims, experiences and activities?

The Speakers at the Conference will be:

  • Helen Fraser – Chief Executive of the GDST
  • Ann Francke – Chief Executive Officer, Chartered Management Institute
  • Professor Tom Schuller – Director of the think-tank ‘Longview’ and currently writing a book on ‘The Paula Principal’, exploring why there aren’t more women in management positions
  • Clara Freeman – Former Executive Director of Marks & Spencer and GDST Trustee

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