by Sarah Causey, Manager of Design Technology, Flad Architects

“Here we are in 2022 looking at the United Nation’s Agenda 2030, how do you think we’re doing on reaching the Gender Equality targets in SDG5? At the current rate of progress, it would take another 286 years to reach what should be completed in the next 8.” 

The uneasy laughter of a room full of design technologists realizing that we have more work to do will remain in my memory. 

The message we wanted to convey at Autodesk University 2022 was not one of sorrow or despair, but rather empowerment. That although current events globally would seem discouraging, we continue to strive to create a more diverse and equal world. 

Each of us, in small ways, even in our niche sector of the AEC world, have the capacity to contribute to that change. Attendees of the Women in BIM session learned that our 10-year-old organization has made huge strides in connecting women and male allies across the globe. In the third year of the mentorship scheme, we grew in our need for mentors as 47 countries participated. 

We see the direct impact of individuals when acting as a collective. The collective contributes to BIM policy, implementation strategy, and other international standards initiatives, harnessing the power of the WIB network. 

Some commented on the class saying at times it was a bit preachy. In fairness, they’re probably right. But we intend to shout from the rooftops how important connection and support is for our peers in BIM – especially now. 

We discussed how disproportionately women returned home as caregivers during pandemic lockdowns. We reflected on how much technology has changed even since early 2020, and the challenge to returning to a new reality that is the AEC workforce. 

But most of all, after Lindsay and I were finished expressing the passion we so genuinely have to help in this cause, we connected face to face with others. Having not had the opportunity to do so since the 2019 Autodesk University, you could feel the electricity in the room as women shook hands, embraced, took selfies together. 

This is really the heart of WIB. I was incredibly honored to represent our organization at this year’s event. I look forward to meeting all of you at conferences to come!