In this guest blog by Alison Watson, she explains how the change in the perceived role of women in society in the last 100 years has affected her, and how working at Arden University has meant she can balance work and family life effectively.

A century of change

Today marks 100 years since some British women were able to vote for the first time. Women voting for the first time demonstrated ‘emancipation’ of women and growth within society. 100 years later and I am thankful to the suffragettes for representing women and providing them with life chances, socially, economically and politically.

My role

I am currently Programme Team Leader for the Undergraduate Business Programmes with Arden University. This position not only comes with a number of management responsibilities, but also mobility duties. While most of my time is spent at home in front of my computer engaging with students, tutors and Arden staff via a number of communication means, an element of my time is used to attend Head Office in Coventry and the six study centres throughout the UK and internationally.

It can be difficult at times to juggle this due to other family commitments, however, Arden University recognise this and value their employees, encouraging flexibility within the workplace. Arden’s corporate values underpin this and enable employees to operate effectively within their parameters.

Arden's values

Arden’s first value encourages creating a supportive environment and engaging others. In practice this is demonstrated well by management. I am able to Skype into meetings when required rather than to travel 3 ½ hours to attend a two-hour meeting. In turn I feel that I can contribute effectively and openly. I encourage my own team to communicate with me if they require flexibility at times. This produces a motivated team who want to perform to their best abilities.

Arden’s second value is, ‘To do the right thing’. I am fortunate enough to have a line manager who does do the right thing and allows employees to manage their own time and does not micro-manage. In return, I personally ensure tasks are completed and to a high standard.

Arden also innovates and is considered by most employees to be a forward-thinking university. Having a young family means at times that I am required at home, but for Arden this is not an issue. The integration of technology within their communications process works well. We have access to technology to communicate amongst ourselves. These technologies also work well when holding combined meetings with my teams who are distributed over a number of study centres and online.

Arden’s final value is, ‘We take ownership’. I feel that I take ownership of my own duties, but also, I am responsible for a team of 80+ tutors and therefore I have a duty to ensure their needs are accommodated. Arden University enables me to do this through their work practices and encourages employees to share feelings and ideas.

Being in such a responsible position has stemmed from hard work and commitment to the education sector. When I entered the teaching profession I wanted to make a difference to peoples’ lives, and changes in the role of women in society has enabled me to do this.

Alison Watson leads on the undergraduate business courses at Arden University.

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