FIG Task Force on Under-Represented Groups in Surveying

NEWSLETTER NO. 4/00

 

Contents

Resolution on Women and Science by the European Parliament

Personalities: Jenny Whittal

Ethnic Minorities in Construction in Britain: Exclusion or Inclusion
by Clara H. Greed


Resolution on Women and Science

03/02/2000 - EP VOTE 1st READING

The European Parliament approved a resolution on women and science drafted by Mrs. E. McNALLY (PES, UK).

The Resolution welcomes the Commission's proposal to increase the involvement of women in programmes organised by the EU and supports the strategy of research by, for and on women as being comprehensive and constructive. It approves the aim of collating a more comprehensive set of statistics on the involvement of women in different fields of science and research and supports the Commission's efforts to produce comparable data. It calls for gender-impact studies on the implementation of the Fifth Framework Programme to be taken into account when the Sixth Framework Programme is being drawn up so as to ensure that research topics of special interest to women are given due priority. It also calls for the appointment of a large percentage of women to serve on committees that set policies, select and evaluate projects and control funds at both EU and Member State levels.

It calls on the Member States:

  • to improve the balance between men and women when they nominate such national experts and committee members;

  • when granting aid, to ensure that the award criteria are clear and that grants are made in condi-tions of the greatest possible transparency;

  • to take measures which support the dissociation of attitudes to course selection from traditional gender specific role models.

Among other things, it calls on the Commission:

  • to investigate the reasons for the discrepancy between the number of women graduating in sci-entific disciplines and the number who are successful in obtaining professional posts;

  • to promote the need for greater levels of numeracy, statistical and IT training;

  • to avoid where possible and to combat when necessary, the unjustified positive discrimination in favour of boys in educational and scientific policy with regard to both the world of work and higher education;

  • to facilitate mentoring systems within networks of women scientists;

  • to observe 'International Women's University of Technology and Culture' to be held as part of the Hanover Expo 2000.

Lastly, it invites the Commission to consider setting up a properly resources group with responsibility for monitoring the effectiveness of mainstreaming in the work of each DG and for addressing the under-representation of women.

25/11/1999 - DECISION OF COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

The committee adopted the report by Eryl McNALLY (PES, UK) on the Commission communication "Women and science - Mobilising women to enrich European research" (consultation procedure). The report welcomed the Commission proposal, the aims and objectives of which it supported. It endorsed in particular the broad definition of "science" adopted by the Commission, the idea of compiling statistics on the involvement of women in different fields of science and research through closer cooperation between the Member States and the proposal to ensure greater representation of women at both EU and Member State levels on committees that set policies, select and evaluate projects and control funds (in particular it backed the Commission's aim of ensuring that at least 40% of those participating in European Research Forums, advisory groups, assessment and monitoring panels are women). The report also called for the establishment at European level of a data-base of female experts to publicise the scientific expertise of women. It asked the Commission and Member States to cooperate in the compilation of better statistics to help ensure a large attendance at the conferences planned for May 2000 (with national civil servants) and May 2001 (with women scientists). The report was critical of the obstacles in the education and training system that girls aged 16 and over and women have to surmount before entering the world of science and technology. To deal with this the Commission should take steps to combat the existing positive discrimination in favour of boys in educational and scientific policy with regard to both the world of work and higher education. Lastly, the report called on networks of women scientists to become better involved in the decision-making and policy-making process, at both EU and Member State level.

17/02/1999 - INITIAL PROPOSAL

PURPOSE: to mobilise women to enrich European research and to describe what action has and will be taken by the Commission in the field of research and technological development in order to achieve this objective.

CONTENT: the European Union at the service of its citizens must, in line with its general principles, set itself objectives regarding equal opportunities for men and women in the field of scientific re-search. Women are currently under-represented in this field: the aim is therefore to encourage women to take part in European research. Efforts will have to be made at European and Member State level in order to rectify this situation. As part of its information policy, the Commission will also seek to ensure that women are informed about the schemes and programmes intended to increase their participation in scientific research. The Commission undertakes to make significant efforts to increase women's participation in Community research programmes; the overall objective is to achieve for women at least 40% representation, on average throughout the 5thFramework Programme, in Marie Curie scholarships, advisory groups and assessment panels.

Accordingly, the Commission undertakes to pursue two objectives:

  • to stimulate discussion and the sharing of experience in this field among the Member States so that action can be taken as effectively as possible at all levels of power;

  • to develop a coherent approach towards promoting women in research financed by the Union, with the aim of significantly increasing the number of women involved in research during the period of the Fifth Framework Programme.

The purpose of this communication is to describe what action has been and will be taken by the Commission in the field of research and technological development to achieve these two objectives, presenting it against the more general background of the European Union's policy on equal opportunities, on the one hand, and the action taken in the Member States, on the other. It should be noted that a very wide range of measures has been introduced at Member State level. Accordingly, action has been taken by the Commission.

For instance:

  • discussion and sharing experience: a group of experts , a group of national civil servants and a network of women scientists;

  • a coherent approach within the Fifth Framework Programme;

  • a coordinating structure for implementing the gender and science watch system within the 5th Framework Programme.

By setting up the various schemes described in this communication, the Commission is providing increased opportunities for women to take part in scientific research. However, these efforts will have been in vain unless all those concerned express their interest by working together towards this goal. The Commission will assess the measures which have been taken in accordance with this communication and will report on them to the European Parliament and the Council. 


Personalities

Jenny Whittal completed her BSc in Surveying at UCT in 1989 and proceeded directly with her Masters degree in Engineering at the same university. Her thesis investigated the use of GPS for vertical crustal deformation monitoring for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. After graduating with her MSc (Eng) in 1991 Jenny began working for the Cape Town City Council with whom she had a 4-year bursary commitment. She completed her cadastral articles and was registered as a Professional Land Surveyor in February 1993. Jenny also became registered to perform Sectional Title work in March 1994 and became a Senior Land Surveyor. In July 1996 she left the City Council of Cape Town to join the Department of Geomatics at the University of Cape Town as a Senior Lecturer. Jenny had lectured at the Universities of Natal and UCT and also the Cape Technikon prior to joining UCT. She currently teaches introductory and advanced surveying as well as error theory and parametric least squares. Jenny has also lectured map projections at undergraduate and post-graduate level and is involved in running the annual camps for Geomaticians and Civil Engineers during the April and November vacations.

In November 1993 Jenny Whittal was co-opted onto the Council of the Institute of Professional Land Surveyors of the Western Cape and in April 1995 was elected vice-president. She held this office till March 1997 when she was elected President of the Institute, a position she held until March of 1999 as the first woman President of any of the Institutes of Land Surveyors in South Africa. Currently Jenny is the chair of a number of committees of the Institute Council and the immediate Past President. In addition to the Institute involvement, Jenny serves as the alternate representative from the University to the Education Advisory Committee (EAC) of the Professional Land Surveyors and Technical Surveyors Organisation, she is the Chair of the Screening Sub-committee of the EAC which assesses applications for membership. Jenny is also a member of the Standards Generating Body drawing up unit standards for the profession.

Jenny Whittal has been involved in the organisation of many local meetings and international conferences, including the 1995 FIG/SURVEY 95 conference, meetings of the Southern African GPS User Group, and the International Conference on Land Tenure (January 1998).

Jenny's research interests are varied, although she hopes to specialize in investigating the registration of rights in land and specifically the non-usage of systems to record formal rights of expectation to freehold property and the disputes arising therefrom in Cape Town. Recent work has also been done in analysing the cost-effectiveness of combined GLONASS/GPS receivers and also in regional improvement of the EGM96 geoid using GPS and levelling data. Computer Aided Learning is also a major area of interest as Jenny believes that interactive inter/intranet material to teach, monitor, and test students is a powerful aid and offers many benefits to the learner and also assist in the provision of introductory courses in geomatics within the southern African region. Initial research has been performed on recruitment and retention in Geomatics and particularly on the success of the marketing strategy employed by the Department since 1999. Marketing of non-profit, service pro-viding, organisations is challenging and interesting.

Jenny Whittal's personal interests include surfskiing, mountain climbing, mountain biking, surfing, swimming, hobiecat sailing, and bird watching. Jenny is married to Hamish Whittal, a contractor in the LINUX and network administration fields. They have a daughter, Cara Rebekah born on 13th September 1999, who is providing great joy and blessing in their lives.


Ethnic Minorities in Construction in Britain: Exclusion or Inclusion

by Clara H. Greed

Introduction: What is the Problem

This paper discusses the changing composition and culture of the construction industry with reference to the increased representation of ethnic minorities within the construction and built environment professions in Britain. Drawing on recent research (Greed,1997a, Ismail,1998), it addresses the issues generated both for the industry, and for the minority individuals therein. Following an explanation of the conceptual and methodological dimensions of the study, the situation in education and practice is discussed. Those factors which facilitate or discourage increased entrance and subsequent progress are highlighted. In the final part of the paper, change agents are identified which might transform the situation for the future. In the conclusion the benefits to the industry of drawing its workforce from a more diverse and representative range of groups within society - and the changes in management practices required to harness this potential - are discussed.

Ethnic minorities comprise around 5% of the population of Britain (CSO,1996), and, (depending on which criteria are used, and taking into account the fact there are no comprehensive figures) they constitute around 3% of those employed in the construction industry (CITB,1996). It may appear therefore, that pro rata, ethnic minorities, are doing quite well, compared with women, who compose 52% of the population, but constitute less than 5% of the construction workforce. But, as will be illustrated, ethnic minority individuals compose far less than 1% of membership of the professional bodies in construction. Whilst some construction organisations have welcomed and supported ethnic minority professionals, from the research it is clear there are problems to be addressed, not least the images and attitudes held by some within the industry as to the perceived place and role of minority individuals within the industry.

The study particularly investigated the situation in civil engineering, construction management and building surveying, which represent three key aspects of the construction professions, namely design, management and technology. However, comparisons were made with housing, architecture and planning. This is because these specialisms have a higher representation of minority groups than the areas under consideration, and so it was important to identify why they were seen as more attractive. Comparisons are also made in the paper, and within the accompanying tables, in respect of the changing gender, class and age composition of the industry. For example, Table 1, shows the ethnic composition of first year undergraduate students across the range of construction professional specialisms for comparative purposes. Table 2 also shows gender composition, because around a quarter of all ethnic minority students on built environment courses are female. Likewise age composition is shown and its significance, in respect of minority students, is considered later in the paper. Thus it is considered unrealistic to deal with 'ethnicity' in isolation within such a diverse society as Britain, in which many factors are at work determining a person's career (cf Phillips and Phillips,1998). For example, black women architects strongly believe they should not rendered invisible in academic work in which, they consider, it is often assumed that, 'all the women are white, and all the blacks are men' (Hull et al, 1982; quoted in de Graft-Johnson,1999).

Table 1: Ethnicity

 

An RICS sample membership survey found in 1995 (these are numbers not percentages) the following numbers for the professional body:

In comparison for the Chartered Institute of Housing for 1996 the figures are as follows as percentage of total membership:

Bangladeshi

10

0 % (17 individuals)

Black African

214

1 % (168)

Black Caribbean

79

1 % (176)

Black other

21

1 % (102)

Chinese

2320

7 % (957)

Indian

139

1 % (128)

Pakistani

234

0 % (57)

Other

26

1 % (153)

Rest [White]

  

72 %

Only the RICS and RTPI gave me figures on disability which was also clearly seen as another very 'other' category. Injury from accidents in the construction industry usually often results in workers leaving the industry, because of disability. It is not part of the culture of construction to see disability as a reason for taking people on.

As will be seen in the education section of this appendix in some specialisms ethnic minority students outnumber all women 2 to 1. On a 'typical' large building site one is more likely to encounter a male Asian construction professional than a woman of any category. Few ethnic minority candidates in construction are women, except in housing, where there are large numbers of women generally. But in Housing (CIOH) women outnumber men 2:1 among ethnic minorities, but this is in part accounted for by larger contingents of overseas and Chinese categories women. Indeed I found many professional bodies went in for a touch of sleight of hand of including the overseas categories to increase the ethnic minority component at student level, but excluding them 'normally' from the mainstream full membership, 'you don’t want overseas members do you?'. In the harder construction end of the industry as a whole male ethnic minority individuals appear to outnumber their women ethnic minorities by at least 3:1, which still makes it a higher proportion of women than found among the white home population. Male ethnic minority professionals out in practice often appear to outnumber women of any category, as I have frequently observed at professional meetings and workplace situations - although from the statistics one would expect more women to be visible. Even where women or ethnic minorities are prominent they are unlikely to be in senior posts.

The RTPI had 571 ethnic minority members (including 180 students) and 71 disabled members in 1994 many of the later also being retired (elderly) members. The figures for 1997 were a little over 764 (including 164 students) and 100 respectively. As to disabled planning students the figure still rests at 2 under-graduate and 2 post-graduate students as it was in my last survey on this in 1994. As can be seen the RTPI gave a figure for disability, and the only other body to do so was the RICS gave me two different figures on disability, the latest for 1995 being 1246 disabled members, interestingly both bodies put these figures in with the ethnicity figures for me. RIBA statistics showed for 1996, that of all new entrants to architecture courses, 5% were Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi; and 2% Afro-Caribbean, making up a total of 7% of all new entrants to architecture last year. (RIBA,1997, Education Statistics for 1996/7) but RIBA were vaguer about those in practice. Not all architectural schools send back their replies to RIBA as requested on the ethnic origin of their students, so the figures are by no means accurate, but they give some indication of the situation.

Several of the engineering and other building and construction professional bodies were at a complete loss to offer ethnicity figures but some offered age of regional location instead. Where information is available it is often unclear 'who' is included in the generic totals, such as whether 'overseas members' are included, and if Black British professionals are counted as part of the 'home' UK membership along with white professionals. If ethnic origin questions are asked, they may be very general. For example, one finds the codings used vary and often manifest alarming transglobal combinations covering millions of diverse populations, such as the popular disaggregated 'Asian' category which includes everyone from the Middle to Far East, or just 'black'. Another curious 'cultural' factor is the complete dismissal, 'pretend they don't exist' mentality towards American construction companies shown by some construction professionals. As indicated earlier some professional bodies appear confused as to whether to include overseas national members under 'overseas' or 'ethnic minority' categories. The invisibility of 'nationals' who, globally, form a large component of the ex-pat dominated 'colonial' construction industry makes the globe appear 'whiter' and more 'English' than it really is. Yet, it is still more popular to discuss the problems of 'multi-ethnic' workers in situations where a range of professionals are working together from different countries on an international building site, than it is to discuss the problems of 'ethnic minorities' on British building sites.

Table 2. RPTI Membership 1994 for Comparison

GRADE

TOTAL

FEMALE

NON-WHITE

DISABLED

Fellow

613

20

15

5

Member

1268

2553

364

35

Student

3094

1309

180

4

Legal

144

8

-

-

Honorary

63

6

-

-

International

26

8

4

-

Retired

807

28

8

28

All

17435

3932

571

72

Source and Categories from RTPI, as presented in Greed, 1994. The non-white is not divided into male and female by the RTPI. Also note how many of the 'disabled' appear to be elderly retired members.

Table 3: Accepted Candidates in UCAS Subject Group: Architecture, Building and Planning

Age at 30.9.96

Under 21

21 to end of 24

25 and over

Total

Sex

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

Ethnicity

Unknown

179

30

81

14

95

23

355

67

White

2967

764

435

56

354

88

3756

908

Black

44

17

20

6

55

25

119

48

Asian

209

55

33

2

17

5

259

62

Other

20

11

4

3

12

3

36

17

Total

3419

877

573

81

533

144

4525

1102

Class

Unknown

254

57

105

24

145

44

504

125

Professional

530

170

56

6

33

15

619

191

Intermediate

1373

338

150

23

120

42

1643

403

Skilled non manual

355

102

50

12

49

27

454

141

Skilled manual

624

140

152

9

141

10

917

159

Partly Skilled

225

61

46

7

31

5

302

73

Unskilled

58

9

14

-

14

1

86

10

Total (same)

3419

877

573

81

533

144

4525

1102

Adapted from HESA figures, note class is based on father's occupation

By Clara H. Greed
Faculty of the Built Environment, UWE, Bristol
E-mail: Clara.Greed@uwe.ac.uk

with Adjmal Ismail (researcher on ethnic minorities in construction management).


Editor: Chair of the Task Force on Under-represented Groups in Surveying
Ms. Gabriele Dasse, Kleinfeld 22a, D-21149 Hamburg, Germany
Email gabriele.dasse@gv.hamburg.de
Fax + 49 40 428 265 265 
Tel. + 49 40 428 265 250
web site: http://www.fig.net/figtree/tf/underrep/tfunrep.htm

4/00, month of issue: December

© Copyright 2000 Gabriele Dasse.
Permission is granted to photocopy in limited quantity for educational purposes.
Other requests to photocopy or otherwise reproduce material in this newsletter should be addressed to the Editor.


©2017 FIG