The big news this week is of course the arrest of Donald Trump… but more about that later! The second big news story is about Sanna Marin, the female Finnish PM losing the General Election. A remarkable woman who has paved the way of Finland joining NATO and thereby taking NATO to the Russian border.
I want to turn your attention to two articles this week.
The first is an article in the Guardian with the headline: “Men dominate 95% of local authorities in Britain, data shows”
It transpires only 18 out of 382 councils have equal numbers. Only a third of councillors in the UK are women and, as expected, the biggest concentration is in London and the Party with the most female Councillors is the Labour Party (and that is only 47%). Our own consultant, Denise Hyland is one of these remarkable women who was Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and oversaw one of the biggest regeneration programmes in London. Denise’s pragmatic approach and commitment to sitting down and talking in a rational way is the key to unlocking great inward investment and decent housing for tens of thousands of people.
According to the report, the low levels of women in local government can be attributed partially to sexism and harassment, having been shown to be widespread throughout local councils. Also contributing is a lack of support for those with caring responsibilities has also been revealed by earlier research, with only a quarter of local councils offering formal parental leave policies.
I’m sure that you all remember when New Zealand PM, Jacinda Ardern, returned to work just six weeks after giving birth. You might also remember when young Neve Ardern, only three months old, stole the headlines when she joined her mother in the UN General Assembly.
The second article appeared in Planning Resource, ranking consultancies with the highest proportion of female planners… again fairly grim reading really and actually, they missed Claremont Planning run by the remarkable Kathy Else. A 100% female run planning consultancy and spectacularly good!
But it’s not all bad news! The current president of the RTPI is the wonderful Sue Bridge who was elected earlier this year. Sue is already setting the world on fire and I am sure this is going to be a very exciting period for the RTPI.
The reality is that the development industry is a bit of a sausage-fest (the irony of me – a middle-aged bloke – writing this is not lost on me). We work with remarkable women architects, planners and developers and as an industry we must treat them with the respect they deserve as fellow professionals.
But back to Donald… He is in trouble because of his behaviour towards women… I will never forget the revulsion I felt when I read the quote of his saying: “Grab ‘em by the…” we need to stamp this sort of behaviour out. As a society we have an obligation to create safe environments for women because only when we have true equality can we thrive.
Until next week,