Real balance creates better places

13 Mar 19 | Anna Snow

Change is happening though, and we live in exciting times where the chance to build a gender-balanced world is starting to feel more achievable. Everyone has a part to play – all of the time and everywhere – and we feel that those working in planning and property should be at the forefront of this, demonstrating the changing face of the industry by celebrating the success of women across all aspects of the profession.

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When I was 8 years old I had a burning ambition to be a weather presenter, or possibly a professional tennis player, or maybe a vet. For my younger self the opportunities seemed boundless. Having grown up as the youngest of four sisters and both parents working full time (which was not the norm in the early 80s) it didn’t occur to my younger self that simply being female had the power to impact on which route I may take.

Fast-forward 30+ years and the reality of life is somewhat different from those childhood dreams. At 8 years old I thought I could be anything I wanted, effortlessly juggling work and motherhood whilst maintaining a strong marriage and a rewarding social life in an equal world where women were treated in the same way as men. But this is not the way the world currently works and inequality still exists, not just across the property industry but within all aspects of life.

Change is happening though, and we live in exciting times where the chance to build a gender-balanced world is starting to feel more achievable. Everyone has a part to play – all of the time and everywhere – and we feel that those working in planning and property should be at the forefront of this, demonstrating the changing face of the industry by celebrating the success of women across all aspects of the profession.

It is in this context that Iceni held its inaugural International Woman’s Day event with men and women from the property industry gathered together to listen to deeply inspirational talks from Bethany Cullen (Director of Development Management, London Borough of Camden), Holly Porter (Director of Surface to Air and founder of Chicks with Bricks) and Michela Hancock (Managing Director of Development and Construction, Greystar), each given the brief ‘If I could tell my younger self one thing …’

There were many empowering lessons to be taken from Bethany, Holly and Michela’s talks and I wasn’t the only one to walk out of the Iceni office with my head held that bit higher and a swagger in my step.

Balance is not just a women’s issue, it is also a business issue. And in a week where the property world descends on Cannes for MIPIM, it is more important than ever to consider whether the industry represents balance adequately and acknowledges the important role women play. We are still some distance from a gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth … but we at Iceni are taking positive steps forward, understanding that balance creates a better world as well as a better work place. #BalanceforBetter

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