‘Surveying Sisterhood….isn’t that just an excuse for a man hating industry forum?’ I was asked this question by a very good female friend when I was explaining the Surveying Sisterhood movement and subsequent hashtag #SurveyingSisterhood.
Ah, the man question. It is a question that those involved with Surveying Sisterhood have been asked before and it will undoubtedly come up again. The question of an anti-men movement has been asked of me on Twitter, a previous work colleague also made the same insinuation. It indicates that this question will continue to be asked and will need answering, so here we go…
The #SurveyingSisterhood has never been and will never be an ‘anti-men’ movement. As much as we praise, uplift and promote women in the industry, we don’t belittle the achievements men have made to the industry. That won’t happen, I can assure you. In an early conversation of the Surveying Sisterhood, we tackled this issue. One of us was given their first opportunity in the industry by a forward thinking man, I noted that I had had exceptional male managers and mentors and the contributions came flooding in. What was obvious was that none of us were ‘anti-men’, we praised the men who had helped shape our careers, those we work with and those who are yet to take their first steps in the industry.
When I went to University in the early 00’s, there was plenty of ladies on the various Building & Construction degrees, yes we were outnumbered by the gents but we weren’t a novelty, we weren’t treated any differently and we were expected to have the same level of knowledge. I certainly wasn’t aware of any ‘gender divide’ then. After graduation, I went to work as an Assistant Site Manager. I was briefly made aware that I was a ‘woman on a construction site’, that lasted all of 5 minutes when I advised the trades that their installation had been undertaken incorrectly and would void the manufacturer warranty. I had fantastic male managers who imparted a huge amount of wisdom, knowledge and experience to me. This really did shape my early career and gave me a strong foundation for the future.
From time to time, yes, there has been the odd man who has made a comment about my gender but actually, not as many as the amount of women who have raised their eyebrows at my career choice. As a mother of daughters, I was once asked whether I would ‘let’ them have a similar career, I replied that one wants to be an aircraft engineer and the other wants to work with animals. The eldest, a wannabe aircraft engineer, wanted to be a pilot for World Book Day this year, a move that was controversial and dare I say ridiculed by other parents, horrified I ‘let’ my daughter do something that wasn’t gender specific. She knows that she will learn from men, she will work with men and men will be very influential to her career path, as they have been with mine.
Equally, my hope is that we can do the same with men interested in joining the surveying profession. I have been really fortunate to have spent 6 months mentoring a hard working, enthusiastic young man looking to take his first steps into the surveying field. We learnt a lot from each other and I really hope he continues on his journey the way he started.
The Surveying Sisterhood has never had an anti men agenda, it never will have. Yes, we’re female and yes, we do want to increase the visibility of women in the profession but this isn’t at the detriment of the men that also shape the industry.
Men, we thank you, we appreciate you and you will always be important to the Surveying Sisterhood.