The value and power of female leaders was on show in London, as 60 Chevening Scholars gathered for the ‘Women in Leadership’ workshop.

Held for the first time, the event was facilitated by Voice At The Table, an organisation with plenty of experience in helping organisations with gender balance and diversity of thought.

Scholars heard from a number of speakers and took part in workshops, all designed to open their eyes and their minds to gender equality in the workplace.

Social Media Ambassador Monica Ibrahim, gives her thoughts on an insightful day:

‘During a much needed sunny London day, I headed to the beautiful Tavistock Square in the heart of the city centre to attend the anticipated Women in Leadership workshop. Ruth Shaw, Head of Campaigns and Engagement at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, delivered the keynote speech at the beginning of the workshop.

Rina Goldenberg Lynch from ‘Voice At The Table’ talked about the change in leadership style and mode of the 21st century referring to John Gerzema’s book, The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future. Rina also explored different statistics, numbers and data that affirm that gender equality is actually good for both men and women, and that it is important not to read the numbers from a gender lens, but rather, through an overall thriving and prosperity lens. On the challenges to women’s leadership, Rina said, ‘Even if you empower women to reach the top, it is still hard for them to assume leadership positions because of cultural misconceptions.’

‘Selfless, noble, loyal, influential and visionary’ were among a long list of attributes to the ideal leader that scholars came up with during the ‘Developing your own leadership style’ workshop delivered by Amanda Cullen. The workshop looked at different types of leaders, and how they can be exemplary for scholars to relate to their own personalities. Amanda highlighted that there is no right or wrong styles of leadership, nor masculine or feminine leadership styles.

Later, discussions between scholars indicated that almost all of them have plans to assume leadership positions in their countries following their journey as UK students, aiming at leadership on corporate, political and entrepreuneurial levels. The workshop attendance was dominated by females. However, there were two gentlemen attending the workshop that received a round of applause from organisers and other scholars for championing women’s rights.

Rina then led a discussion on the limiting assumptions that obstruct future women leaders from reaching out to their maximum capacity. She spent the workshop debunking common myths about leadership, work attitudes and personality traits.

Finally, the day ended with with socialising and a networking  session between current scholars who took advantage of the presence of the Chevening blue baton to take photos.’