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The theme today at the COP26 summit is gender and the meaningful participation of women and girls on climate action. With 80 per cent of people displaced by climate change being women and children this is a topic close to our hearts. 

So we’re delighted that our top team including Chief Executive Victoria Hills MRTPI FICE, and President Dr Wei Yang FRTPI are up in Glasgow contributing to the discussion around how planners and the planning system can tackle climate change.

RTPI Chief Executive Victoria Hills, and President Dr Wei Yang, join an all female panel at our Race to Net Zero event held during COP26

“From the day the modern planning profession was formulated women have played a vital role in shaping and progressing the profession”, says RTPI President Wei Yang. “There is no age and gender difference in our spirit, no race difference in our soul. Love Quotient is our ‘unique selling point’- the ability to love and care – love people and care for the environment.

“We need to cultivate thought leadership, as well as empower diverse leadership to advance the profession. This will contribute significantly to our joint effort of tackling climate change and social inequality.”

RTPI Chief Executive Victoria Hills added: “Women comprise approximately half of the population, and whilst our consumption, work and travel habits may at times differ from our male counterparts, make no mistake we have a big interest in the places we work, live and play in. Women therefore need to be visible, present and active in the planning profession to ensure their needs, views and aspirations are represented and delivered upon.”

Of course being up in Glasgow we thought you might also like to hear from someone who’s played in influential role in planning in Scotland, and that’s Barbara Cummins, Convenor for the RTPI in Scotland. Barbara initially worked for Scotland’s first female Head of Planning before eventually going on to become Director of Heritage at Historic Environment Scotland.

Barbara explains: “My first job in 1990 was for Scotland’s first female Head of Planning; as the first female development control officer there.  My gender was irrelevant to colleagues, but local farmers did call me a “wee lassie”.  When one wanted to complain but heard my boss was a woman he responded that one woman was as bad as another!   Throughout my career I was supported by managers and ultimately I got the most senior position in planning in Historic Environment Scotland – proving my father right when he said I could be or do whatever I wanted in life.”

Finally we also spoke to Bernadette Hillman LARTPI, who is Honorary Solicitor and Climate Change Champion for the RTPI and sits on the Board of Trustees. Bernadette is also a partner and Head of Planning at Sharpe Pritchard and was voted 'The Planner Women of Influence' in 2020. Bernadette said: "I’ve been a lawyer and a planner for more than 30 years. For at least the first twenty in the property sector I was often the only woman in the room. I am delighted that the chief planners of England and Scotland are both women. What fantastic role models for us and future generations of women planners." 

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