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Fostering inclusive allyship: International Women’s Day at BDP

To mark International Women’s Day this year, BDP held a mixed-gender panel event in its Manchester studio, which was live streamed to watch parties across its international studios. Led by the distinguished Sumita Singha OBE, whose Illuminating keynote speech kicked off the discussion, the panel included BDP North Chair Sue Emms, Tim Heatley, Sarah Castle, and Tom Ravenscroft, with BDP Principal Ged Couser acting as panel chair.

Below, BDP’s CEO Nick Fairham reflects on his key learnings from the panel discussion.

Our International Women’s Day event this year was an unequivocal success. Led by panel chair Ged Couser, the discussion that arose established a forum for open and honest discussions that both delved into the challenges faced by women and celebrated their achievements. One of the standout conclusions was the pivotal role inclusive allyship plays in propelling genuine strides toward gender equity.



In the built environment, where men comprise an estimated 70% of the existing workforce, our involvement in discussions surrounding gender equity is crucial. But allyship goes beyond words.

Men must take responsibility to recognise the issues women encounter in our industry, and actively support them by creating space where their voices may not initially be heard. It's about knowing when to give visibility and credit where it is due, when to pass the mic, and when to step aside to amplify diverse perspectives. By fostering a culture of support and understanding through their actions, male allies can help pave the way for a more inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive.



Moreover, the event reinforced the impact of a true mix of voices in the room leading to more holistic solutions and approaches. This diversity, whether in the workplace or in how we shape our built environment, ultimately contributes to a better world for all.

BDP continues to advocate for diversity and inclusion, while there is still significant progress to be made, let’s remember that our collective efforts today will shape a more equitable tomorrow.

Many thanks and congratulations to all involved in organising such an impactful event.



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