Login | Register
03/03/2017

IWD: Networks - Women in Planning

Women in Planning was formed in 2012 to address a gap in the market for a professional network for women working in the industry. Co-founder Alison Mackay talks about its founding and how it's supporting women in the profession

Women in Planning is an informal professional network of women working in the town and spatial planning profession. Charlotte Morphet and I founded the network in 2012 to raise the profile of women in the industry, together with providing a platform for networking.

Arriving in London in 2011 towards the beginning of my career, I began attending numerous networking events in order to improve my knowledge of the London market and extend my professional and personal relationships. Whilst it was evident to me that town planning as a profession falls into a number of sectors, including private, public, academics, third sector or students, all the events I attended were dominated by men and the private sector.

It was at this stage we began discussing why women and other sectors weren’t represented and set up the network to provide a variety of free events, from drinks receptions to talks on ‘Career Travel Plans’ from inspirational role models, to attract a diverse range of people.

"Whilst it was evident to me that town planning as a profession falls into a number of sectors all the events I attended were dominated by men and the private sector"

We have hosted a number of influential leaders through our ‘Proud of Women’ series, including Helen Hayes MP. 2015 marked a historic milestone with three woman presidents across Royal Institute of British Architects, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Royal Town Planning Institute at the same time for the first time. This presented an opportunity for us to host the presidents and discuss and debate the state of play for women across the related professions.

The latter event was particularly good for raising the profile of women in the industry and our group but also in my own organisation, Colliers International, who hosted the event. Tony Horrell, our UK CEO, kindly provided the welcome speech on the night and in seeing the benefits first hand, instigated the formation of our own Women’s Network.

In 2016 the Women in Planning Committee was set up, chaired by Mary Fortune (who joined Women in Planning in 2013), and we plan to continue delivering more events to empower women in the future.

Twitter: @WomeninPlanning

Email: womeninplanning@gmail.com

Alison Mackay is a senior planner at Colliers International and co-founder of Women in Planning

Tags