Mansfield District Council's chief executive speaks about women in leadership on International Women's Day

Mrs Barsby has dedicated almost her entire career to Mansfield District Council
Mrs Barsby has dedicated almost her entire career to Mansfield District Council

Mansfield District Council’s chief executive Hayley Barsby says she feels  ‘hugely supported’ in her leadership role.

Speaking on the week of International Women’s Day, Mrs Barsby said she believes that Mansfield District Council broke the mould when it comes to women in leadership positions.

Mrs Barsby, whose role includes paid service, electoral registration officer and returning officer, said: “Mansfield District Council is leading the way for women in leadership. I am the third female chief executive, we have a female mayor, leader of the opposition and youth mayor.

“The environment at MDC is really positive, and I have never had an issue.”

Mrs Barsby has dedicated almost her entire career to the authority, prior to which she was an industrial engineer at Mansfield Shoe Group.

The married mother-of-two has had eight roles during her time at the council, including head of housing and director of communities.

“Across Nottinghamshire there are three other female chief executives, so I have always felt equal and supported,” Mrs Barsby added.

“There does seem to be more emphasis in the media on what a woman is wearing, and not what she is doing – news outlets often write about what Theresa May is wearing.”

She added that although women are often more critical of themselves, they are often resilient.

“There is a perception that women are softer, and they may not be as able to make tough decisions .

“There are expectations of what we can do, and we often deal with problems in a managed and appropriate way.

“We can pave the way and be good leaders – and we can start shaping things for ourselves. Work is hard in the public sector as austerity is taking hold. Difficult decisions need to be made.”

Mrs Barsby also has advice for any women who aspire to be in a leadership position.

“Set your own path, don’t let anyone set it for you,” she said.

“You need to have the drive and do it for yourself – not for others expectations for you.

“As a woman, you can be whoever you want to be – the opportunity is there for you to do it for yourself. No-one can tell you what to do.

However, although Mrs Barsby has enjoyed a positive working environment, she recognises that there is still work to be done in the fight for women’s equality globally