Posted on: 2 November 2018    

On Thursday 1st November, Abley was proud to sponsor the Christchurch Chapter of Women in Urbanism Aotearoa ‘Gathering with a purpose - Ginsburgian Dinner’ at The Exchange (XCHC). This group is open to all women who are passionate about cities, sustainability, climate change and good design outcomes. 

Why have such a group? The reality is that development of our urban environment has historically been dominated by men and perhaps that has contributed to some outcomes that aren’t always ideal for woman (and children). Women can bring a different perspective. At Abley, we have an almost equal number of male and female technical staff, and we see a group like this as being important in not only raising pertinent issues, but also for members to be able to support each other and share ideas.

This dinner was a facilitated gathering with the purpose of expanding on urbanism issues facing Christchurch. Using the concept of a Jefferson Dinner, each table discussed a topic and shared this with the group. Like me, (Jeanette Ward), you may be wondering where the term ‘Ginsburgain’ fits in? It was concluded that as Jefferson was a man, the dinner should actually be named after a woman and keeping with the American flavour Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg was considered appropriate. Ruth, now 85 years old (and still working!), is a staunch courtroom advocate for the fair treatment of women. She was appointed by President Carter to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980 and was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993.

The table topics included He Tangata: How to attract people to the City, Inclusion and Diversity issues in Christchurch, Space and Place activation in the City, Climate Change + Carbon Free City and Transport Perceptions.  These topics were established from several breakfast gatherings this year. Ultimately, the group wanted to develop an action plan of what we can influence and make happen in the coming year.

At the Transport Perceptions table, for which I was the moderator, we discussed at length the negative perceptions people have about taking the bus in Christchurch. It is interesting (but not surprising) how generally each conversation about transport comes back to the availability and price of parking. 

I love the interesting ideas that a group of people from various backgrounds and disciplines can generate, such as ‘Adopt a Grandma’ – love it! The dinner attendees will now fine tune the ideas down to at least one that we can move forward with together. We look forward to continuing to be part of the group as individuals but also to support this great initiative from a company-wide perspective where we can.

Blog written by Jeanette Ward, Associate Transport Engineer

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