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The Downing Street Project is a ground-breaking initiative to promote and enable balanced leadership between men and women at every level of society, up to and including 10 Downing Street. Despite constituting 51% of the UK population, women still hold only 11% of directorships in business boardrooms, 36.9% of top jobs in the health service and 19.5% of seats in the Houses of Parliament.
Research has shown that women are excellent mediators, networkers and problem solvers. They are skilled at keeping cool in a crisis and willing to develop themselves in the face of difficulty. The Downing Street Project founders believe that these qualities are called for to address the challenges we currently face; that women have a responsibility to step up to take leadership roles.
This is not a call for simple numerical equality, but a plea for deep cultural change. How can we move on from our ‘hard powered’ ethos – with its excessive risk, competition and reliance on force – to a ‘softer powered’ public space? One more reliant on co-operation, co-creation and what President Obama describes as “the power of our example” – being the change we wish to see?