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08/03/2017

IWD: Young planner interview - Lesley McVeigh

What do young planners think about International Women's Day and equality in the workplace? The RTPI's policy and networks adviser Katherine Pollard asked Lesley McVeigh, assistant strategic planner with Taylor Wimpey

Name: Lesley McVeigh

Job title: Assistant strategic land and planning manager

Employer: Taylor Wimpey

Years working in planning: 7

"I am very much looking forward to some of the International Women's Day events, particularly the Scottish Young Planners Event which is being hosted by Monica Lennon MSP at the Scottish Parliament, which has a great line up of motivating speakers.

IWD raises the profile of women across a variety of professions and sectors. It's an excellent opportunity to encourage women to share their thoughts and experiences in relation to gender issues.

In my own experience, across both the public and private sector in Scotland, I've not become aware of any gender gaps in pay or opportunities. I am confident that the opportunities I have had, or missed, throughout my career have been in relation to my own ability and competency and not in relation to my gender.

"It's important that planning considers the bigger picture for diversity and inclusion, which is not just about issues relating to gender inequality"

In my personal opinion, planning actively promotes diversity and inclusion. There is always the opportunity to do things better and to reflect on our own practice and conduct.  I think that this is actively encouraged throughout the profession and is something which my own employer, Taylor Wimpey, strongly advocates.


Diversity and inclusion at Taylor Wimpey

On behalf of her employer, Lesley says: "Taylor Wimpey aim to be an inclusive company which values people as individuals and creates a workforce that reflects the diversity of the local communities where we build new homes. Our UK Diversity and Inclusion group was formed in 2015 and after initial reviews of current practices, the group finalised the company’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy and action plan in 2016. Many initiatives are now well underway or have been completed as part of this strategy and the group will continue to embrace diversity and inclusion into 2017."


I think it is important that initiatives promote and encourage women who are already planning professionals, and those who might consider planning as a career. However, I think that it's important that planning considers the bigger picture for diversity and inclusion, which is not just about issues relating to gender inequality.

I have had the privilege of working with and alongside many inspirational women in my career to date.  Pam Ewan, senior manager for planning for Fife Council, is undoubtedly someone who I consider to be a mentor as well as a role model.  I initially met Pam through her role as Convenor of RTPI Scotland in 2015 and my own involvement in the Scottish Young Planner’s Network as a steering group member. Pam’s passion for planning and her dedicated approach to raising the profile of the profession is something which I truly admire. I am hopeful that I can inspire others in the way that she has encouraged and supported me throughout my career.

"It's important for women to occupy leadership roles in planning so that they can encourage other women to enter into the profession - but as a result of their ability and not because of their gender"

Jennie Daly, UK Land Director for Taylor Wimpey, has long been someone who I admired in terms of her career in planning and the impact which she has had on the development industry. Since moving to Taylor Wimpey I have been fortunate to work with Jennie and she is a fantastic role model for women in planning both in the public and private sector.

It's important for women to occupy leadership roles in planning so that they can encourage other women to enter into the profession - but as a result of their ability and not because of their gender. I would also add that women can still be leaders for the profession even if they are not in a ‘leadership role’."

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