Inspire International Women's Day event

Published on 15/03/2023

L&Q marked International Women’s Day with an event organised by our staff gender equality network, Inspire.

Colleagues from across the organisation came together to hear talks from our CEO, Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Chair of our Resident Services Board, Fayann Simpson, OBE, and Head of Diversity and Inclusion, David Codner. The session was chaired by our Executive Director of Development, Vicky Savage. 


Group photo of Fiona Fletcher-Smith alongside other members of L&Q


During her talk, Fiona advised on how women can overcome barriers in the workplace. Drawing on her career experiences, she encouraged audience members to “be curious, keep learning, put your hand up for all sorts of things, and don’t pull the ladder up after you”.

David spoke about how it’s every employee’s responsibility, whether they identify as male or female, to make sure every person is treated fairly, with dignity and respect. Exploring how men can be part of the solution, he examined the benefits of gender equality for men, including better work/life balance choices, higher household incomes, and improved material outcomes for their children.


David said:

“As men, we need to stand shoulder to shoulder with women to be part of the solution, not just the problem. Whether that’s through making space for, and crediting, their contributions, or actively seeking their insights on issues that matter to them.”

People Safety and Wellbeing Advisor, Sandrine Rivoal Pluviaux, shared her story of moving to the UK in 2016 from her native country, France. Reflecting on her challenges, Sandrine emphasised the importance of well-being support and highlighted gender-specific offers available at L&Q for all female staff, such as free menopause consultations with a specialist GP.

Fayann brought a resident perspective to the day’s discussions. She charted her journey as an involved L&Q resident, from her first attendance at a Brixton neighbourhood committee twenty years ago to her appointment as Chair of our Resident Services Board, a member of our Group Board, and most recently, as our Senior Independent Director.

Presentations were followed by question time, refreshments and a networking session.

Shantell Francis, Development Assistant and Inspire Event’s Manager said:

“The housing sector has a strong track record of empowering women. Progress has been made, but there is still more that needs to be done to make things equitable for everyone. 

I’m proud of the incredible work Inspire does to actively increase gender parity at L&Q – as well as celebrating the achievements of female staff in traditionally male-dominated fields such as construction and repairs."