We are a networking group of professionals set up to support and connect women working across the flood and coastal erosion risk management (FCERM) sector. We are focussed on women and those who line-manage them, but this is within a broader context of striving for gender equality for everyone so our membership is open to all.
What do we do?
The initiative has grown substantially since it was first piloted at Flood and Coast conference in 2018 and has 5 elements. Click on the images below to read more.
Bringing together people across the country at regional and virtual events to network, share issues and seek advice on your career development.
Promoting and celebrating individuals who are leading the way, supporting others and challenging stereotypes for the benefits of others.
Leveraging our brand profile within the industry to implement a communications and engagement plan to build our following and reach.
Through our conversations and work to date it is clear there is a gap that needs filling. But what is that gap? We know there are many different initiatives that support people to grow and develop their careers, be they gender related or more broadly linked to profession. We do not want to duplicate what these initiatives offer, but we do want to understand what we might offer to complement what already exists and fill any gap.
The WiFCERM mentoring programme is a group programme, based around issues which women have highlighted that would like additional support and guidance to support their growth and career development.
The first thing Women in FCERM did was provide a route for connection between women, and those who support them, across our sector. We first came together at Flood and Coast 2018, with an open, honest and incredibly inspirational conversation which has never really stopped. It highlighted the need for connection across the sector and the commonality between the challenges we face.
The majority of individuals leading in the FCERM sector are men. We believe that a better gender balance will not only encourage more balanced leadership and governance but will further contribute to enhanced performance. Numerous reports explain the benefits of gender diversity at every level in our organisations. Key amongst these are: reduced turnover and increased engagement / performance as employees report higher job satisfaction levels; improved reputation attracting customers and new talent; true representation of your customer base; and a wider talent pool from which to draw.
We want to influence senior leaders to support and sponsor the initiative building on the benefits of increased gender diversity to encourage our people to thrive and do all they can to evolve and advance our sector.
Our future ambitions
We are pulling together the evidence to support how WiFCERM develops in the future. We are currently gaining feedback from our mentoring pilot, events and surveys to form a plan for Women in FCERM in the future.
We are looking at other similar initiatives already in place for other sectors or indeed parts of the FCERM sector – Women in Rail, Women in Planning, Women in Engineering etc. In addition other organisations – such as ICE – have their own sub-groups supporting women’s development.
An important part of our future work will be talking to the employing organisations of our members. They already offer their own support to their employees and if we are to secure their support we need to understand their views and needs. We will also talk to other development organisations, professional institutions and initiatives linked into our sector.
How can I get involved?
All this takes energy and commitment from people who are prepared to drive it forward and make it happen. We have some fabulous volunteers but there is always room for more. In particular we’d love more folk to get involved in helping our leads for the network events in the South East and South West of England but we’re keen to hear from people of all genders wherever they are!