Race Equality Network (REN), is an organisation operating across the Bradford district, promoting race equality and equal representation at all levels and provide support to grassroots organisations led by minoritised communities in the area.
As a part of Inclusion Week celebrations in September last year, REN hosted a panel event, Women Leading the Way, which highlighted the achievements of thireen female leaders who are from ethnic minority backgrounds working within the Bradford district as well as acknowledging the struggles and barriers they faced during their career.
The feedback about the event was that there is a great need to give women such a platform for them to come together and empower them to develop their confidence and leadership skills in whichever sector they work in.
Following on from the feedback from attendees and consultations with the thirteen panellists on how to develop this work, REN launched Women Leading the Way Network on 1 March 2022.
On Tuesday, REN hosted their first event Women Leading the Way in Governance in partnership with Near Neighbours and Wellsprings Together as a part of the International Women’s Day celebrations.
The aim of this event was to learn about how women can take up governance roles in schools, health boards and the voluntary community social enterprise (VCSE) sector.
The panel of guest speakers included:
- Selina Ullah: Chair of Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Amria Khatun: Senior Policy Advisor for the Civil Service
- Zoe Mawson: Headteacher at Beckfoot Heaton Primary School & Nursery
- Kim Shutler MBE: CEO of The Cellar Trust (mental health charity) and chair of the Bradford VCS Assembly
The panel shared their valuable insights in governance and emphasised the need for women to be more involved in the boards.
The event was well attended by women from across all sectors and consisted of icebreakers, speeches and important discussions on women in governance.
Some key takeaways from the event are that every woman can a make difference in their local community, take pride in being the only woman in the room and be proud of what you have achieved.
REN Project Manager Humma Nizami said: “Our aim for the Women Leading the Way Network is to work in partnership with key stakeholders across the district to break the bias and discrimination in order to increase the visibility of women especially those from minoritised backgrounds who hold positions of leadership.
“We want to work with existing leaders to encourage and equip young women to develop skills, build confidence, join boards, and lead the way in their chosen sector”.
REN will host up to 4 in-person events each year with a focus on different themes within leadership.
They will recruit mentors who have so much to offer in terms of their professional and personal lived experiences to support other women who face barriers to their career progression.
Mentors will be matched to someone needing support on a particular issue/topic with the outcome of building the mentee’s confidence, resilience and developing their leadership skills.
If you wish to sign up to become a mentor or mentee for Women Leading the Way Network, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.