This article is written by Founder & Global Chair of Women in BIM Rebecca De Cicco.
It has been an incredibly challenging year for all, not only in the Construction sector but in all sectors for all people both on a professional and personal level. I often wonder where we would be globally if this pandemic had not hit, but I believe what it has done for us is helped us to focus on the important and fundamental happiness we all strive to achieve in life. As women we are constantly trying to work hard and prove ourselves, to avoid being judged, to always be our best and support our work and family. One thing we should all have learnt this year is to really focus on what it is we need as people, as women in a sector which so desperately needs change.
When I founded the Women in BIM initiative back in 2012, it was very much a UK focused group. The main driver back then was the constant issue I found with the lack of women in BIM related roles, coupled by the fact that every industry event I attended had a general lack of female speakers and role models and for me this was a real issue. It wasn’t just the BIM space that lacked diversity, it was generally that all events included speakers of the same demographic (white male!) and this is why I knew back then I wanted this to change. This only became more important as I continued on my global BIM journey and realised this was not just a UK problem, but a global issue and one we so desperately needed to address.
Women in BIM have seen such great momentum over the past few years not only in the UK but as a global initiative, supporting leading industry events and working toward real change, while also growing our initiative to support one another on a global scale. What I have found, particularly in 2020, is that there are so many people, not just women, who want to help us to reach the goals we have, the foundations of what Women in BIM is fundamentally about and drive diversity across our sector. To support, encourage and retain Women in BIM related careers are our three key incentives and have been from the very beginning. This is not just a construction industry issue, as we know, in many regions of the world women are still underpaid across many different sectors and there is still an issue with the general approach to Women working in Construction and technology. I learnt in the last year more than ever just how important it is to be true to this cause, to constantly talk about it, to draw young people into it and to focus on why as an industry it has taken us so long to be diverse.
As I reflect on the past 12 months, I have seen some great progress in our work, not only in the UK but globally. We have launched our first ever Mentor Scheme this year thanks to our core team and Katya Veleva our Mentor lead. We have hosted podcasts, continued to host events (albeit virtually) and grown core teams and people in regions of the world we were not represented in this time last year. For me that shows a great growth and success of our cause. We don’t want to stop here though. Women in BIM are still underrepresented in regions of the world where we really need to push this drive. China for example as well as the USA are still areas we want and need more members, and growth.
Women in BIM also want to see more of the strategic diversity policies across businesses globally. What we need are organisations who will strategically push and drive diversity across their teams, their people and their entire organisation as a whole. Its not just about saying so, its about actioning change. Those organisations who are willing to be raw, open and more inclusive are those we want to work with. Yes, Women in BIM is a gender focused initiative, but we support wider diversity initiatives and have openly commented on them this year at such a turbulent time; Black lives matter and anti-racism are also both important social topics we want to continue to support.
For me, the future is bright and I feel so fortunate to be where I am today. I thank our beautiful members, our core team and our followers from all over the world for backing us when we were only starting out and continue to back us as we grow. 2021 will see some challenges, but it will also see the clouds begin to move, the sun appear and some positive and beautifully rich experiences will appear for our group, our industry and a society as a whole.
Women in BIM is about volunteers supporting our cause and our core team Vicki Reynolds, Nicole De Cicco, Katya Veleva, Gergana Staykova and Jenni Barrett are beautifully smart and wonderful women who I am lucky to work with and who also adhere to the Women in BIM ethos of change.
With this, I would like to wish the global Women in BIM community a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year and I cant wait to see what 2021 will bring for our community.