Thursday 2nd March 2023

What we’re looking to achieve with our new network for women working in social housing in Scotland


A peer network for women working in social housing in Scotland has an important role to play. Carolyn Lochhead explains why

Carolyn Lochhead is director of external affairs at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations

What we’re looking to achieve with our new network for women working in social housing in Scotland

BY CAROLYN LOCHHEAD

A peer network for women working in social housing in Scotland has an important role to play. Carolyn Lochhead explains why

Social housing is crucial for women.

They are more likely to live in social housing than men, and there are thousands of women working in roles across the sector, from customer service to housing officer, all the way to CEO.

Yet jobs in construction, repairs and maintenance continue to be seen as traditionally male roles. That’s not to say there aren’t women working successfully in these positions – there are, many of them here in Scotland.

But it’s not always easy, moving into a job where you may be the only woman, or one of only a few. We hope Women in Social Housing (WISH) Scotland, which launched last year, can provide a peer network for all women working in any kind of job within our sector.

As a board member, I hope WISH can play a part in bringing women working in social housing together, helping them find chances to develop. As a relative newbie to the sector, I’ve been struck by the size and breadth of the world of social housing, and although everyone I’ve met has been immensely friendly and helpful, nevertheless it can be daunting to find your own place in such a complex sector.

Networks like WISH can make a big difference in helping women navigate the opportunities and, at times, barriers to progress.

We made a good start in 2022, holding two well-attended events with speakers who offered advice and guidance on networking, building confidence and finding your own niche. The feedback from our members has been fantastic, and it’s clear there’s an appetite for more this year: women working in social housing at all levels are looking for chances to meet, learn from each other and support one another.

WISH Scotland’s volunteer board is composed of 11 women working across Scotland, some in representative roles like my own and that of our chair Kirsty Wells of Housemark, others in frontline positions at councils and housing associations both big and small.

What we all share is a desire to help women succeed on their own terms, and a willingness to put in the hours to bring that about.

www.wishgb.co.uk/our-regions/scotland

On 8 March (International Women’s Day) WISH Scotland and SHARE will hold a free breakfast reception on Breaking the Glass Ceiling at 8am at Glasgow’s Radisson Red Hotel


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