NEWS / Blog / The next steps to changing business culture post-Hadid

London Aquatics Centre, Arup

20 MAY 2016


Liz Loughran on how women can become equals in the board room


omen are just over half the workforce and yet are seriously under-represented in senior management and boardrooms. In the UK better performing companies tend to have a higher percentage of female directors. Research shows a more diverse workforce leads to innovation. Gender diversity makes a difference in the Board Room in terms of leadership and priorities. It can also help prevent unconscious bias and increase awareness, benefiting all levels of organisations.

At Line Planning we have diverse skills in planning, infrastructure and urban regeneration. In the built environment and engineering world women remain a very distinct minority. We work with women-led SMEs at our premises in a studio in central London. We work independently and collaboratively for B2B and independent developers. We are not the Zaha Hadid's of this world but we have a following.

On that note now is the time to move on from Hadid’s painful legacy of rejection and challenge, even though it led to success and reward. The stress of all that surely contributed to her ill health and premature death. In the post-Hadid world women and men need to focus on positive behavioural and cultural change. Getting recognition, through fair play and less stress. Practically this means opening up more opportunity. At the business delivery end for example, that could be through the imaginative use of SMEs.

Competitiveness and male dominance are still trending in organisations and the professions. Commercial and success barriers for women remain high. But we are all multi-disciplinary. Technology and education has freed us up to be this. The cultural playing field is far from level but there are many ways to lean in and change this.

For example, networking sustains our focus and facilitates discussion on corporate and professional change. Men engage with this. We notice many are directors. But more junior men are actively pressing for change too. Line Planning plays a principal part in networking. We help Women in Sustainable Construction and Property (WSCP) and participate in other networks. We help shape the future for better gender balance and team achievement in the sustainability of organisations. On a number of levels we ring the changes and evolution never stops.

Liz Loughran

Liz Loughran

Chief Executive

Liz is chief executive of Line Planning.