The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Reclaim The Streets – Are Evening Networking Events Inclusive?

Reclaim The Streets  – Are Evening Networking Events Inclusive?
16 March 2021 | Updated 18 March 2021

In the wake of #ReclaimTheStreets protests across the country at the weekend, women are calling into question the inclusivity of evening events for networking and career progression.

The murder of Sarah Everard on the streets of South London has received much press attention and has highlighted the huge proportion of sexual assaults experienced by women in this country and worldwide, and led many to take to social media to talk about their experiences in not feeling safe at night alone. Everard, a 33-year old woman, was walking home from a friend's house in London when she was murdered, and a serving member of the Metropolitan Police has since been charged for her murder.

A from UN Women UK published by the Guardian shows that 97 per centof young women aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed.

When it comes to business events, whether that's for networking, social or career progression purposes, the vast majority are held in the evenings after work. A fact not gone unnoticed by Kathleen Fontana, President of RICS and Managing Director of Mitie Projects, who took to LinkedIn to share her views on the matter.

She wrote:

"The tragic news about Sarah Everard has sparked righteous anger from many women who simply want to feel safe outdoors after dark. This affects work for women too. How many of us feel nervous about getting home safely after networking events, team dinners etc. How many leave early from, or even decline these career-enhancing opportunities?

"I am lucky to work for a leader who proactively ensures that female colleagues get home safely after such events. Until the time that it’s really safe to walk the streets after dark, all leaders need to step up to ensure after-work events are inclusive and safe. #reclaimthestreets #inclusionmatters."



Picture: a photograph of Kathleen Fontana


Caregiving Responsibilities 


This is an opinion echoed by many, including Nikki Dallas, Director at Talent FM, who spoke about women's caregiving responsibilities also having an effect:

"Networking opportunities, awards evenings, charity events are almost always held in the evenings which has a bigger impact on women for a number of reasons.  There is the issue of getting home safely and employers have a responsibility to ensure all employees get home safely after events, but there is also the wider issue that we still live in a society where women are the primary caregiver for children and so many women with a family can be excluded from these events due to their responsibilities at home. 



Picture: a photograph of Nikki Dallas

"Of course this applies to single dads or people who are carers for elderly parents or disabled adults and is not just a consideration for women but the past week has certainly sparked debate around these issues, and quite rightly so."  


"I personally worked for a large FTSE100 listed company that made socialising a large part of the company culture and people were regularly expected to go out and drink with colleagues.  I always was conscious of needing to get home safely so often used to leave before the rest of the team, all men."

–Nikki Dallas

Managing Director, Talent FM


Dallas also spoke about her personal experiences of missing out due to concerns about getting home safely at night:

"I personally worked for a large FTSE100 listed company that made socialising a large part of the company culture and people were regularly expected to go out and drink with colleagues.  I always was conscious of needing to get home safely so often used to leave before the rest of the team, all men. Obviously, there are inclusivity issues here to consider and organisations should be more mindful of the ‘culture’ they create and be sure to make sure that it is a lot more inclusive for all."


Crime and Justice Taskforce Review


Prime Minister Boris Johnson will today chair a meeting of the government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce to discuss further steps to protect women and girls and make sure our streets are safe.

He commented: "The death of Sarah Everard must unite us in determination to drive out violence against women and girls and make every part of the criminal justice system work to protect and defend them."

Picture: a photograph of a city street at night

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 16 March 2021


Related Articles

Spotlight Interview – Justine Salmon | ABM UK

In ThisWeekinFM’s Spotlight Interview, Justine Salmon, Operations Manager at ABM, discussed how FM companies can attract more women into engineering professions and...

 Read Full Article
BCIA Announces New Vice President Stacey Lucas

The Building Controls Industry Association has announced Stacey Lucas as its new Vice President. Stacey has been a member of the BCIA’s Management Committee...

 Read Full Article
Churchill’s Support for Veterans in FM

Ahead of TWinFM’s Ex-Military Employment & Networking event in Leeds, Louisa Clarke discusses the progress that Churchill has made in its support for veterans...

 Read Full Article
Bidvest Noonan Appoints Jenny Jones as Director of Operations  

Bidvest Noonan has announced its appointment of Jenny Jones as Director of Operations in its FM business unit. With more than 20 years of industry experience, Jenny...

 Read Full Article
Louisa Clarke Appointed to Veterans Advisory Board

Churchill Group’s Managing Director for the North and Scotland, Louisa Clarke, has been appointed to the government's Veterans Advisory Board. The board...

 Read Full Article
BCIA Appoints Catherine Walker as Executive Officer

The Building Controls Industry Association has announced the appointment of Catherine Walker as Executive Officer on the retirement of George Lee in September 2022....

 Read Full Article
New Appointments in Facilities Management – August 2022

Read all about the latest new appointments in the world of FM, commercial real estate and the built environment, including appointments at The National Institute of...

 Read Full Article
Construction Careers Attracting Young Interest

New research from construction data platform NBS reveals that construction has now become a desirable career path for UK school leavers and young adults, with 56 per cent...

 Read Full Article
Delivering Great FM Services Relies on Successful Mobilisation

The success of FM services is all in the mobilisation phase, where the partnership between the service provider and customer sets the tone for the future, says Densrienne...

 Read Full Article
Simone Fenton-Jarvis and Luke Folwell Join IWFM Board as NEDs

Two new Non-Executive Directors will join the board of The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management, as announced at its 2022 AGM. Simone Fenton-Jarvis...

 Read Full Article