Liz Hamson’s leader (‘It’s not about us, it’s about you’) resonated with us at Women in Property. She said: “We will endeavour to make our editorial content as diverse as possible… but I will not and cannot manufacture diversity.” How right she is.
Property Week has been a steadfast, pioneering supporter of diversity in the industry, notably since the launch of Open Plan, with which Women in Property was proud to be launch partner. Liz and her team have carried numerous opinion pieces on the subject, of which this is probably the latest. They have done their bit and more, but what are you doing?
We are all responsible for fixing the problem. None of us can sit back and complain about diversity issues if we don’t work towards correcting them. As individuals, we can make a difference to our own situation and leaders of all genders and ethnicities can influence from the top down.
Here’s how. Become more visible. My predecessor, Jo Williams, was quoted in this magazine saying: “Being visible in any organisation is not a given. None of us are so naïve that we think good things – promotions, pay rises, project leads – will just happen. We know we have to put ourselves out there, that we have to be seen to be making our mark, grabbing the limelight, not just quietly getting on with it.”
Read Liz’s leader here: It’s not about us, it’s about you
We have to take responsibility for acquiring the skills and confidence to put ourselves forward, whether it is in the workplace or, more publicly, panel debates and conference podiums. The more that women do this, the more role models will be created, the greater the balance. We must all be conscious of our unconscious biases, which arguably have the most detrimental impact in the workplace.
At Women in Property, we actively support members in all these areas, as well as through our mentoring programme, panel training and professional development sessions. We help them succeed, aspire to senior roles, get the platforms and inspire girls considering a career in this industry. We advise businesses on how to combat unconscious bias in their own organisations and help them understand the career pipeline issues for women-returners.
We also use our position to influence at government level. We are regular contributors to the government’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women and Work. We recently submitted evidence to the 7th Inquiry of the APPG for Excellence in the Built Environment on the recruitment and retention of women in construction.
I was recently appointed to the Welsh Government Board Expert Panel Supporting Entrepreneurial Women in Wales. Earlier this year, colleagues presented to the Scottish Parliament’s economy, energy and fair work committee at Holyrood, addressing the ‘apprentices in construction’ evidence session.
This is an unashamed trumpeting of what Women in Property is doing but I represent our members and they are working hard to make a difference. It is clear that there is a genuine commitment by very many people, to create change, a level playing field for the industry. We urge all involved to take an appraising view of their own approach to diversity. Do you think you are doing enough? Can you help others to do more?
Mandy St John Davey is national chairman of Women in Property