Our History

Women in Social Housing (WISH) began as an informal group in 1998, created by our co-founders Nicola Dibb and Debra Constance.

Both Nicola and Debra had worked for years within the affordable housing and construction sector and they identified the need for a separate networking space for women due to the different way men and women tended to network in a business environment.

Their belief was in the power of the collective and their vision was to create a networking group for professional women, generating opportunity for everyone through shared experiences and an understanding of the value of networking.

From the start WISH brought together women from different disciplines, working across the breadth of housing-related roles in the public and private sectors and quickly grew in popularity.

Over time, the group transitioned into a membership organisation following requests from attendees who were looking to capitalise on knowledge shared across the sector and maximise the unique networking benefits they had experienced from the informal meetings. 

In 2019 we became incorporated as a Community Interest Company (CIC) and we now have over 500 subscribed members spanning across 10 regions in the UK.

Whilst we have evolved greatly since we first began, our commitment to the power of networking as a vehicle to support women’s career progression, to motivate women to stay in the sector, to attract new female talent into the UK housing sector, and to highlight issues of diversity, gender inequality and the gender pay gap are as relevant now as they were when we began.


WISH is a networking community offering encouragement and support for every woman, just like you


Networking the WISH way ‘It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.’