Analysis

Women in BIM: tackling new challenges

8 March 2021

As we mark International Women’s Day today (8 March), Rebecca De Cicco and Vicki Reynolds update BIM+ on the work of the Women in BIM network.

Women in BIM was always about connecting women across the world and finding a resolution toward the global BIM debate. As a community I am finding that although challenged by a global pandemic, we are stronger and more influential than ever.– Rebecca De Cicco, Women in BIM

 

Our growth over the past three years especially has been phenomenal, and it’s all thanks to the hard work and commitment of our core team, regional leads, and wonderful sponsors and allies. Whether it’s providing their time and skills, financial support, or simply sharing and supporting our content online, we are grateful for every single part of it.– Vicki Reynolds, Women in BIM

The core values of Women in BIM have been the same since it was established in London in 2012. We aim to empower, celebrate and grow a community of women in BIM-related roles, resulting in a more diverse industry that young girls want to work in and women want to stay in.

Over the years, as our members have moved across the globe and the UK BIM standards were developed into international standards, we recognised that our community must also grow internationally. We began to focus more on connecting multiple regions globally, and sharing stories and lessons learned among our members with the intention of supporting the adoption of BIM across the globe. It is important to us that women in more remote regions can feel part of a wider community, and that they are not left isolated or alone.

In 2019 our founder Rebecca relocated back to Australia, and that became a great lesson for us in how to manage time zones and structure our work with a core team split across two hemispheres.

To add to the challenges of global connectivity, 2020 then brought its own additional challenges. Thankfully covid-19 has not been as detrimental to our organisation as it could have been, and although we miss meeting our members in person very much, it has given us permission to embrace digital communication in a fresh and new way as we strive to build our global membership.

Now our events often have attendees from much further afield, as everyone is dialling in and so it doesn’t matter if you’re in Manchester, Madrid or Melbourne, everyone is having the same experience.

We have even found that our regional leads are more confident in delivering their own events, as the pressure of finding a physical venue is relinquished, and we are extremely proud to say that our first round of events in Spanish will begin in spring 2021. From there, we plan to cover more languages and become even more accessible for our members that do not have English as a first language.

In 2020 we launched our mentor scheme led by our mentor lead Katya Veleva, which included 20 mentor/mentee pairings of women across 23 countries, and we’re currently taking applicants for our 2021 cohort where we’re hoping to see even more of a geographical reach.

We’re also currently planning an exciting education support project for 2021 led by our education lead Dr Jenni Barrett, and will be continuing to deliver blogs, webinars and podcasts created both for, and by, our amazing international community.

Finally, we are thrilled to launch a new website today, 8 March (https://womeninbim.org). This will include further functionality where members can search for each other and communicate directly online, providing a private support mechanism and method for finding and connecting with women both in your region, and beyond.

This is something we are very passionate about: connecting each other, regardless of where in the world you reside, and helping new entrants to BIM as well as senior representatives of BIM across the globe to connect.

Overall we have seen massive growth and evolution since Women in BIM began, and we now have more than 600 members across 51 countries, and 38 regional leads. But underneath our growing numbers and exciting new projects, our values and our commitment to diversity remain unchanged.

Rebecca De Cicco is chair and founder of Women in BIM, and Vicki Reynolds is vice chair of Women in BIM.