2017 Annual NUT Eastern Region Women’s Conference
THE ANNUAL NUT EASTERN REGION WOMEN’S CONFERENCE
A few months ago, I was privileged enough to be able to attend the annual NUT Eastern Region Women’s Conference at the Cambridge Belfry Hotel. During the event, which gathered a group of 50 female teachers from across the Eastern Region, everyone had the option to attend some very helpful workshops as well as share professional experiences. For anyone who has not attended this conference before, let me tell you that it makes you feel incredibly empowered as a female teacher for a variety of reasons.
From the very beginning, it was clear that a lot of hard work and great people were behind this event. Sophi Berridge was the main person in charge and she did an outstanding job of taking care of us and providing us with a range of workshops that were especially relevant to female teachers. Attendees had the option to stay overnight or just attend the workshop sessions. The environment was quite productive and quite a few of us started to set up what should become local women’s groups that offer legal, professional and personal support. At times when our lives are ruled by data objectives, it proved rather refreshing to end the conference with the presence of a transformational coach who reminded us that our mental and physical wellbeing needs to be a priority in order to succeed.
Finally, this weekend was not just a matter of attending workshops. All of the women present felt there was a need to create local women’s groups for added support. In the case of the Mid-Essex division, we created a members’ only Facebook group for all women in our division. The group is called Essex NUT Women’s Network Group and members can only be added by other members or by getting in touch with Claire Horan, the Facebook group creator. The aim of this group is to find/offer support with any of the following issues:
- Emotional support (stress/pregnancy/loss…)
- Work-life balance
- Women’s health
- Legal rights
- Flexible working hours
- How to challenge sexism
While we are not expert in all areas, we would like to establish a support network with the help of our local reps and caseworkers.
THE ANNUAL NUT EASTERN REGION WOMEN’S CONFERENCE – ACCOUNT OF EVENTS
- Welcome dinner
- Viewing of the critically acclaimed film ‘Pride’ followed by an informal group chat
- Official Conference opening by Jocelynne Scutt (feminist lawyer, writer and commentator) and NUT Vice President Louise Regan.
- Selection of workshops in small groups
- ‘The Harassment of Women’- issues with adults and students. Derogative language towards women.
- ‘Being a Role Model for Young People’ -how can we help them?
- ‘The “Down and Dirty” Discussion’- discussion panel on taboo topics regarding sexuality.
- ‘Women and Wellbeing’- looking after ourselves. Our wellbeing, a priority.
- General session with transformational coach
- Start the creation of women division groups
Report by Mario Polo