‘Women are not equally represented in our sector’

RICS President Clement Lau reflects on this year’s Women’s History Month and also welcomes the return of in-person events where industry professionals can meet and connect


  • Clement Lau

06 April 2022

Across the world, seasons are changing. This variability is a reminder that no matter how fixed we believe our present situation to be, change is always just around the corner, with principle, resilience and resolution the best tools we can employ to confront the future with confidence.

With this in mind, and amid the many challenges facing our world, I was pleased to see in March that in-person events are making a welcome return across many markets. Of course, the pandemic is far from over, but as COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift in many places, we are rediscovering, albeit tentatively, how welcome these opportunities are to connect and bond over shared interests and topics we care about.

Building connections and engagement across the profession is of course a key area of focus for the Member Engagement, Experience and Value working group. The member-led body’s recent update makes for positive reading as to the progress being made in this area.

I am particularly pleased that their conception of network-building combines the keenly felt desire to meet face-to-face and insights on the benefits of digital working that we have gleaned during the pandemic. This blend will be key to supporting members as we move on from the pandemic and I look forward to hearing more about the improvements to RICS support and activities for members this group will be making.

One example of the benefits of this approach was the great participation it enabled in the events, conversations and gatherings that took place in celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March as part of Women’s History Month. Speakers, delegates and participants took part in person and online, bringing their insight and passion for this important topic to the many member-led events that took place across the world. RICS also hosted an event in Parliament Square in London, which you can view in full.

These occasions provided a great display of the diverse global talent and experience that our profession brings to its public purpose. However, as President Elect Ann Gray wrote in her piece to mark IWD 2022, it remains a fact that women are not equally represented in our sector, whether you take presence at board and leadership level, relative pay, or experiences of bias in everyday situations as a measure.

This is to all our detriment, and more needs to be done to address it, but thankfully awareness and willingness to act is becoming increasingly widespread. RICS is highlighting stories that showcase women’s achievements across our sector, hosting conversations and content with its Member Spotlight series, and posts tagged #WomenInSurveying on its social channels, which I encourage you all to review. IWD is an important focal point, but let’s all ensure we commit to taking the energy of this day and creating a profession where everyone can thrive every day.

Clement Lau headshot

“In-person events are making a welcome return … and we are rediscovering, albeit tentatively, how welcome these opportunities are to connect”

March also saw further productive member engagement as professionals, investors and other real estate leaders gathered in Cannes for MIPIM. Members and a delegation from RICS and the European regional board put on a strong showing – Senior Vice President Tina Paillet carried the flag for the presidential team, speaking at roundtables and panels.

The topics Tina covered included how RICS professionals are enabling the transition to carbon neutrality in the built environment and beyond, as well as highlighting the opportunities and challenges being uncovered through RICS thought leadership. Tina also gave some words of thanks to open the RICS evening reception, which provided a welcome moment for members to connect with fellow professionals and relax after the business of the day.

It is truly heartening to see professionals well-represented and building their networks face-to-face at events like this one, and I look forward to this type of engagement becoming a greater part of our working lives as the world reopens.

My best wishes to you all for a healthy, happy and productive month ahead.


Make sure you don’t miss anything on Modus by signing up for our newsletter.


Building the future podcast

Young talent debate the need for change  Listen now