March 4, 2019, at 2:25pm

We're celebrating International Women's Day with five female OUs

Friday 8th March is international women’s day.  

So many of our female OUs make a huge difference to the world around them, and in the run up to Friday, we want to share some of their stories. 

Barbara Matthews (SH 73) Chair of Trustees

We’re launching our week of celebration by profiling Barbara Matthews (SH 73), who, in June 2017, became the first female Chair of Trustees in 433 years. 

This was the second time she had made history at the School after becoming the first full-time female pupil at Uppingham. She joined the School in 1973, alongside 641 boys, and put down the first footsteps in a trial that would lead to full co-education early in the new millennium.

After leaving Uppingham in 1975, Barbara graduated from Durham University before gaining a diploma in arts administration at City University in London. She has held a number of professional positions in the world of the arts, including Director of Theatre for Arts Council England, a post she held for six years. She is currently Pro Vice-Chancellor (Culture) and Head of the College of Art, Architecture, Design and Humanities at Nottingham Trent University.

To launch the OU celebration of International Women’s Day, Barbara has shared her personal insights on how Uppingham shaped her:

“None of us ever achieves anything alone - we need the support, belief and encouragement of those around us to help us on our way, especially during the tough times.  But above all, we need confidence in our own abilities - to know that we can be as good as the next person.  Uppingham helped me to build that confidence, never suggesting that being a woman might be a limiting factor to my future success.  I discovered that was not a universally held view later in life - but by then it was too late - my ambition had been ignited!”  

The OU team would like to thank Barbara for sharing her experiences and insights with the community. We will be hearing from more female OUs over the course of the week, so check back tomorrow for the second profile in the series.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #balanceforbetter and we would love to hear how you are helping to achieve this. If you would like to share your story and tell us how you champion equality, please let us know via our Social Media channels:

LinkedIn: share your business or professional news on the dedicated OU network

Instagram: upload your photo using the #’s #OU and #balanceforbetter

Facebook: tell us which women most inspire you, adding #OU and #balanceforbetter

Twitter: share your business or professional news, adding #OU and #balanceforbetter