Girls should be taught to ask for a pay rise, says school chain boss

Education is key for tackling workplace gender inequality, says CEO of Girls’ Day School Trust

Eleanor Busby

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Teaching girls how to ask for a pay rise is crucial for their future remuneration in the workplace, according to the boss of a girls’ school chain.

Cheryl Giovannoni, CEO of Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), is determined to equip pupils with the skills and confidence needed to match the unequal progress of men in the workplace.

Ms Giovannoni left her high-profile job running advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather more than a year ago to head up GDST, which has 23 independent schools and two academies.

In an interview with Tes, she said: “It is about teaching them those skills and having a sense of what it takes to be a leader. And the kind of resilience and grit required.”

Ms Giovannoni aims to link every sixth-former with somebody from the trust’s alumni network of 75,000 women, in an area of business or a profession that they may be interested in.

She said: “I think teaching girls that being able to ask for that pay rise, or to demonstrate what you have achieved and to be confident in having those conversations, is really important.

“Girls do really well all the way through school, [but] when women tend to flounder is when they get into the workplace. They don’t make as much progress as men do.”

The girls’ school chain boss told Tes that keeping fees down at its schools, while balancing other costs, can be “challenging”, especially as it is also trying to offer bursaries and scholarships.

Ms Giovannoni came into the role at a time when pressure on independent schools to do more for state schools was ramping up.

A Department for Education green paper, published in September last year, suggested that schools with the capacity and capability should sponsor an academy or set up a new free school.

The response to the consultation has yet to be published – but Ms Giovannoni says she is looking at converting some of the chain’s private schools into academies, or bringing in existing academies.

She said: “In terms of reaching as many girls as possible, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that a couple more academies in the trust would be things we would entertain.

“If we can expand our influence and help schools in different ways, that’s very much a part of what we feel we should be doing.”

This article is from an interview featured in the 15 December edition of Tes. Subscribers can read the full article hereTo subscribe, click here This week's Tes magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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Eleanor Busby

Eleanor Busby is a reporter at TES 

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