CICES Women's Network
As part of the institution’s equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy, we have recently launched plans to form a Women’s Network, spearheaded by long-standing member, Genna Rourke FCInstCES.
The drive to form the group was born out of the recognition that more needs to be done to encourage women into civil
engineering surveying and the construction industry in general.
According to GoConstruct (the CITB funded website promoting careers in construction), women comprise around 14 percent of UK construction industry professionals.
Currently, CICES membership stands at around 12 percent of those identifying as female.
Why do we need a Women's Network?
At the 2023 Manchester Lecture in February, Genna Rourke spoke on stage about women in construction.
Following this, she was approached by several younger women asking for advice, in particular some individuals that worked for smaller organisations with a scarcity of other women who could offer support.
At GeoBusiness 2023, a panel discussion on diversity, featuring Genna, Hazel Hendley of Ordnance Survey, Dr Pooja Mahapatra of Fugro and Class of your Own's Alison Watson MBE, was chaired by CICES EDI Council chair, Simon Navin.
This was where the intent to form a Women's Network was announced, with Simon commenting:
'I'm delighted twe're launching dedicated networks that will support and enable greater equity, diversity and inclusivity across our membership, industry and beyond.
'This Women’s Network will be a trailblazer for others to follow and I know that through Genna’s leadership and enthusiasm we will create opportunities to champion gender equality, build allyship with other members and challenge outdated industry views and practices.'
Why get involved?
On the formation of the network, Genna Rourke said:
'I have worked in the industry for the last 15 years, mainly for large contractors and have recently seen a greater representation of women and more support for the skills and way of thinking that ladies bring to the table.
'My mentors have generally been male until the last two years, and when I think back about female role models in positions I could aspire to, they either didn’t exist or didn’t offer any mentoring or support for junior staff members.
'Many large businesses now are offering women’s networks and mentoring programmes but some still don't and several smaller companies don’t have the resources to set them up.
'I hope this network can give younger talent coming into the industry a direct link to female role models in their field of study, who can support and nurture them.
'And hopefully this will help out retention rates in the industry as well.
'We do want to hear from everyone so please complete the questionnaire and I look forward to meeting you at our first event.'