Women in BIM is a growing global networking group set up to draw attention to the low numbers of women in BIM related roles. Their ambitions, aims and a call to action are outlined here by BIM Today
There can be no doubt we are facing a construction skills shortage – one that began in the aftermath of the 2008 recession. There are a multitude of issues affecting the shortage: an ageing workforce and a poor pipeline of young people are just two factors. However, there is also a huge gender and diversity gap, which if tackled well, could help to alleviate the skills crisis we face, and here is where the Women in BIM networking group hope to make inroads.
The Women in BIM networking group began in 2012 with the aim of drawing attention to the low number of women in BIM related roles in AEC and to also provide encouragement and support. It isn’t an organisation just for women, but it is about women who work in BIM and digital construction. By working together as a group, it is hoped their voice will have a greater influence to empower, support, and provide an incentive for women to enter the construction industry. In supporting women’s career options and learning development opportunities, we can retain a more diverse industry in the long term, not just for the UK, but globally.
Women in BIM want to attract young women into the industry and act as mentors to further skills and encourage them to enter BIM and digital related roles in the future. They also want to see the number of senior women in BIM related roles increase. The retainment of women in the construction sector is an important issue, so the group want to encourage women to strive for the best, advance their position and move into senior roles where they exist. Being part of a community that can provide support should help to keep women in the industry. This incentive is also supported by a growing number of profitable FTSE100 companies which include diverse board members, not only regarding gender but also ethnicity and race.
The Women in BIM database
Women in BIM may sound like a women-only group, but it isn’t, it’s for all of those involved in the built environment who want to see a change. The only part of the group that is women only is their database. The database is intended to grow and support Women in BIM related roles and provide regional hubs to encourage mentoring and support. The database is also intended to support BIM related events globally by offering female speakers who may have specialised skills in certain areas. Men are encouraged to communicate to the women they know who work in BIM about the group, invite them to join the database and to put the group in touch with organisations that can help spread the message of diversity.
Officially the database was launched at the Digital Construction Week event in London on 26th and 27th October and is intended to support women who work in Building Information Modelling (BIM) and to also act as a resource for learning.
The confidential database will be used to:
1. Create hubs of support for women to network, discuss and share ideas in the context of BIM and other digitisation working practices around the globe;
2. Gather data and create a series of infographics illustrating our reach globally;
3. Inform the industry as to where Women in BIM can grow and give support within each geography;
4. Provide information and a practical framework to help the industry and governments and professional institutes address diversity issues in the backdrop of a digitised sector.
The database also gives women the opportunity to share their experience and offer their services as speakers and experts.
A fundamental issue is not having enough women in senior positions who serve as role models and subsequently further attract other women into the industry, motivating them to climb the corporate ladder.
Rebecca de Cicco, Chair of Women in BIM, said that:
“Women who work in the construction industry benefit from the support of their peers. Women in BIM was set up with this aim in mind. Our first task is to work out how many women exist in these roles, where they are located and how can we put them in touch with each other. We invite all women working in BIM worldwide to join our network.”
Women can join the database by filling out the form on this link: http://bit.ly/womeninbimdb
Women in BIM also has a global group on LinkedIn at http://bit.ly/womeninbimlinkedin and is available on Twitter as @WomeninBIM. We also encourage those interested in the group to promote and share the incentive based on our growing database, as the more people involved, the more impact we will make.
For further information or to contact us please email us at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
or to contact Rebecca De Cicco, chair of Women in BIM please email her at: email@example.com
or via her organisation, Digital Node; firstname.lastname@example.org