*UPDATE: Sign up for our completely FREE Women in Leadership Event here!*
De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) is looking to empower an entire generation of female leaders with its first ever Women in Leadership Event.
The event, inspired by the National Union of Students (NUS)’ own Women in Leadership Conference, takes place on Wednesday 1 February and aims to examine the barriers faced by women pushing for leadership roles and inspire a fresh generation of female leaders.
The conference, which is completely free to attend, is open to all De Montfort University (DMU) students and is part of a week’s worth of This Girl Can events.
Lauren Thomas, Women’s Representative at DSU, said: “It is really important to get women inspired and make them aware of the leadership positions that they might not know about and talk about the barriers they may face.
“In my experience, I used to be called ‘bossy’ if I was assertive and boys who did the same thing would be told they had ‘great leadership skills’. The fact that everyday sexism is still a thing is a huge barrier [to women in leadership].
“If a woman is being cat-called on their way to work then it’s going to be a barrier. If there is a lack of respect, then how can she try and hold someone’s respect? These are some of the things that we’re going to look at.”
DSU's Women in Leadership Event is inspired by NUS’ own Women in Leadership Conference and will come to the DMU campus for the first time.
The conference, organised by Lauren and supported by DSU’s VP Welfare and Community Keira Rounsley and Disabled Students’ Representative Louise Cunliffe, will run from 1pm until 4:30pm and will feature a number of workshops led by members of DSU’s Officer Team, with a keynote session from DMU’s Head of Dance, Sally Doughty.
“She is someone who I knew I wanted to be there, since she has inspired me a lot since I came to DMU,” explained Lauren. “When you talk to her you believe anything is possible. I think her journey alone is inspiring, and so it’s something that will be great to hear about.
“We also have a panel throughout the day of both men and women; there’s a section in the conference about how we can bring men onboard.
“It was so important to me from the beginning to have men on the panel and it is not a case of women for feminism. Despite the name I am not a Women’s Representative – I am a gender equalist.”
Other sessions will examine in greater detail the opportunities afforded to women in the student movement, both as part of DSU’s Elections and on a national scale.
Lauren continued: “It is going to be a great day and will be very useful and even if you don’t want to become a CEO or go into a managerial role. Leadership skills are still extremely useful to have in everyday life. I can’t wait to see everyone there.
The Women in Leadership Event is FREE to attend, but you will need to sign-up beforehand. You can put your name down here.