Women Making History: The Leaders of Today


‘Women Making History: The Leaders of Today’ is a roundtable session exploring the presence of women in senior roles in heritage organisations, at the Women and Power conference which took place on the 6th and 7th March 2019.

Women and Power: Redressing the Balance was a 2-day conference, jointly convened by the National Trust and the University of Oxford, which took place on the 6th and 7th March 2019 at St Hugh’s College in Oxford. The conference brought together professionals from across the academic and heritage sectors to reflect on programming around the 2018 centenary of the Representation of the People Act which granted some women the right to vote and to look to the future of researching and programming women’s histories.

The conference featured papers from a range of heritage, cultural and academic institutions who marked the centenary anniversary. Many of the programmes, exhibitions and events that responded to the centenary not only explored the stories of 100 years ago but openly questioned the representation of women’s lives in the histories inherited by curators and researchers, and experienced in public life, today.

This roundtable session ‘Women Making History: The Leaders of Today’ explores the presence of women in senior roles in heritage organisations through the lived experience of the first generation of female museum leaders. What difference have these women made to how heritage is managed, preserved, and constructed? What barriers have they encountered? How have these women helped others to succeed?

The session draws on the findings of three projects which have all sought to make a difference for women working in the sector: the Women Leaders in Museums Network; the Confidence Choice and Connections programme; and the Changing the Narrative initiative. It explores the ways in which cohorts of women have worked together to support each other and encouraged other women to put themselves forward for leadership roles in the sector and discusses what is needed in future to ensure the representation of women’s experiences in all aspects of heritage practice.

Virginia Tandy, Co-Founder, Women Leaders in Museums Network (Chair)
Hilary Carty, Director, Clore Leadership Programme
Kate Clark, Visiting Professor in Heritage Valuation University of Sussex
Sara Wajid, Head of Engagement, Museum of London

For more information about the Women and Power conference and the National Trust Partnership at the University of Oxford please visit: