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Celebrating inspirational women at MIPIM 2018

Juliemma McLaughlin, Chief Planner, Greater London Authority

This was my first year attending MIPIM, and while I was excited to attend in my role as Chief Planner for the Greater London Authority, I was also mindful of the stories of male dominated excesses and poor behaviour.

Throughout my career in planning in two global Cities, London and Sydney, I have never experienced sexism or discrimination, but I do count myself lucky.

When I received my delegate pack, I was pleased to see that London had decided to tackle poor behaviour head on, by giving us ‘pink elephant badges’ to wear as a reminder, and symbol, to tackle issues they witnessed, stand up for equality and reject discrimination. London demonstrated a much greater understanding of the pervasiveness of female harassment and a collective commitment to face it and take action at MIPIM. I am pleased to say that I did not need to invoke the power of the elephant even once!

When you first enter the London Stand you are struck by the hugely impressive displays that showcase opportunities, innovation and technology. The buzz, energy and excitement within the marquee is tangible and manages to capture the creativity and enthusiasm of London itself.

It is true that many of the delegates and visitors to the London Stand are still male dominated but I only encountered professionalism and collaboration from the delegates I met and spoke with. It was great to see that women were strongly represented on the panels of the many and varied seminars that were held every day, and I enjoyed being a panellist and speaker, because it helped me showcase the Good Growth themes of the newly published London Plan.

The effort that the exhibitors put into making their stand dynamic and appealing is to be commended. The large-scale models are truly impressive, but special mention should go to the boroughs, City of London and the MDCs. Their exhibitions are action-packed and the attention to detail and sheer determination to showcase the best of their area of London really does demonstrate how much diversity is on our doorstep.

The highlight of my week was being asked to speak at an all-female dinner about the draft London Plan, by London First. The room was full of inspirational women who have accolades at the highest level; discussing issues that the new London Plan is trying to address with them was insightful and rewarding, and I have shared their thoughts with the team back at City Hall.

Our conversation moved onto the issues women face in the workplace, and how many of them have smashed through the glass ceiling, but, also, how they faced and dealt with issues that could’ve affected their working lives.

Given that this year marks 100 years since women were given the vote, I think we should congratulate London First for hosting an event that allowed women to get together, share ideas and laughter at MIPIM, I am already looking forward to next year’s dinner!


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