Women in geospatial at Idox

While the world acknowledges there's still work to do in the equal opportunities arena, the geospatial sector is making great progress. We're proud to have clear voices speaking about the inclusive nature of our own culture here at Emapsite and thinkWhere, as part of IDOX's geospatial division. We asked Fiona Frost (UK Account Manager, Emapsite) and Alison Moon (Head of Geospatial Projects, Idox), to share some of their thoughts on 'women in geospatial'...

Fiona: "Emapsite is very much a meritocracy, so from the outset it's always felt like a great environment for me to learn and grow. In the early days, I had the benefit of seeing one of my colleagues doing exceptionally well, always being supportive and generous with her knowledge. That's something we should encourage, and make sure there aren't any barriers in the way."

Alison: "Yes, I’ve worked with many exceptional women in my time in business, none more so than in my current team. My colleagues Fiona Hemsley-Flint and Aimee Rossi work with me at a leadership level, combining their passion and geospatial knowledge with pragmatism and a real flair for problem solving. Working with women like these and seeing women like Vanessa Lawrence at the forefront of our industry (Vanessa was the previous head of Ordnance Survey and co-chair of the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management), confirms to me that geospatial is an industry in which women can and do excel."

Fiona: "Sometimes I think barriers, such as they are, are a reflection of an employee-base that's changing over a period of time. Personally, I often meet with senior business leaders - women - to discuss Licensing training for their teams. However, on LinkedIn I've noticed that I do see more posts from men. That's a shame, as I’d love to see more amazing women GIS and CAD professionals talking about their successes, and sharing their work. That said, there are a few women I'd highly recommend seeking out, too. Sarah Daniels is a Digital Cartographer at EOLAS Insight, Nicola Gooch is Planning Partner at Irwin Mitchell, and Kate Brown is a Passivehaus Consultant - all strong women in geospatial, all delivering inspiring insight."

Alison: "The Women in Geospatial community is also well worth checking out – they have a Slack channel and mailing list, and run regular events, so some potential good networking opportunities there. Other networks worth a look are the Girl Geeks in Scotland, and Scot Women in Tech. The AGI also run great face-to-face events – I went to their Scotland Annual Conference recently, which had a wealth of female speakers and exhibitors to be inspired by and connect with."

Alison continues: "I think women still face systemic imbalances in opportunity and recognition, generally. We need to work hard to overcome these, particularly in STEM professions. The geospatial industry is welcoming and inclusive overall, but it’s still important to ensure women are given opportunities to showcase their talents, build strong networks and develop their careers."

"I’ve been lucky to work in environments where talent and hard work is recognised with greater responsibility and opportunity, so I don’t feel my gender has been a limiting factor in my career progression. That’s not to say there haven’t been challenges, particularly as a working mum with young children. The expectations of professional and personal life can be a really difficult thing to balance and it’s hard to feel you’re always getting it right. For me, working with other aspiring female leaders in the business, most recently on Idox’s “Leading Together” programme, has allowed me to build a strong network with other like-minded women (and men!) and reflect on how it’s possible – and actually really valuable – to be your authentic self at work. This for me is critical if we’re to keep women in the industry and get the best from ourselves."

It's clear, there's more to do, but women can be trusted to lead by example. The Women in Geospatial team is already opening doors for all women in the geospatial community, by helping them to become even stronger leaders and changemakers.

Women have always been active in geospatial, and there's no limit to what we can achieve together. When women themselves are inspired to be included in projects and the evolution of our own expertise, this nurtures a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment.



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