Saïd Business School Launches Online Women’s Development Program |

Saïd Business School Launches Online Women’s Development Program

By Niamh O

Updated August 29, 2019 Updated August 29, 2019

Oxford University’s Saïd Business School is set to launch an online women’s development program to boost the confidence of their female students and progress their leadership ambitions.

The Oxford Women’s Leadership Development Program was designed and developed using insights from an Oxford Saïd academic study of women CEOs.

The research suggests self-acceptance of their leadership ambitions and potential is an essential first step for aspiring women leaders.

Subsequent research found almost half of female leaders don’t see themselves as leaders immediately and only accept their leadership when noted by an external trigger – for example, others vocalizing they have leadership capability. 

Andromachi Athanasopoulou, Associate Fellow at Oxford Saïd and Associate Professor in Organizational Behavior at Queen Mary University of London said: “Women are rarely invited to go on leadership journeys. Some also suffer from what is known as ‘impostor syndrome’ which means they don’t believe that they deserve success.

“That’s why it’s critical for them to take active ownership of their career, ideally early on. Women need firstly to self-accept they have leadership potential, which means believing in their imagined future as a leader.”

Women progressing in leadership

The Oxford Saïd study has highlighted just how many barriers women must overcome to be able to pursue their leadership ambitions.

Findings suggested women need to accept the work-life compromises they will have to make in order to be successful. This meant improving their resilience to push past personal and work barriers.

Saïd’s new program hopes to assist women navigate these issues by offering both support and the space required to develop leadership ambitions.

Teaching will be carried out through a series of videos by Saïd Business School faculty and industry experts, as well as assessed exercises, reading and self-reflection – delivered over six weeks.

Participants are implored to trial and develop new ideas and perspectives to inform insights, which will then generate action.

Benefits of online study

There is significant flexibility for women to undertake the program due to its online status, meaning women can study around work and home commitments.

Participants will be assigned regular assignments to keep them on track, and they can also make the most of the opportunity to build working relationships with like-minded participants through groupwork activities and online discussions.

Research findings

The program’s research has underlined three key activities that identify women leaders: developing a sense of self-acceptance, investing in self-development and building and using self-management techniques.

Participants are offered the chance to examine their own leadership strengths, and how best to use those approaches to influence others and successfully negotiate, to ensure those things get done.

Kathryn Bishop, Associate Fellow and Director of the Women Transforming Leadership Program at Oxford Saïd and co-convener of the program said: “Many women show considerable leadership potential in their organizations, in communities and in wider society – but don’t necessarily consider themselves leaders because their leadership style may be different from the traditional image.

“This program will encourage more women to see themselves as leaders, and through investment in their own self-development, build their confidence and capability.”

If Saïd’s leadership program sounds like it could appeal to you and your future career plans, applications are now open. The program starts September 25 2019.

This article was originally published in August 2019 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (;, creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  


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