Welcome to the WLP

This month will see the formal launch of the ILP’s new arm, Women Lighting Professionals (WLP), embracing all genders, race or religion

During last summer’s Professional Lighting Summit in Manchester there was much talk about the formation of a new body within the ILP to celebrate and advocate for women within lighting, as Lighting Journal recorded at the time (‘Industrial magic’, September 2023, vol 88 no 8).
That talk has now resulted in action and later this month Women Lighting Professionals (WLP) will hold its first formal meeting in London.

The meeting is due to take place on 23 January at the offices of lighting design firm Introba in Holborn and will, explains Amanda Reece, senior engineer at Designs for Lighting (DFL), hopefully be just the fi rst of many.

‘WLP will have a standalone identity in its own right within the ILP but it is not looking to reinvent the wheel,’ she tells Lighting Journal.

‘There will be a chair, a deputy, secretary, and we’ll be aiming to run regular meetings, some online and some as physical face-to-face events. The aim, too, is to have WLP representatives within each Lighting Delivery Centre (LDC) around the country. We’ll have our own section on the ILP website and even our own distinct logo,’ she adds.

VOICE FOR ALL WOMEN
WLP will be about giving a voice to all women working within and inside lighting, she emphasises. ‘It is about trying to encourage women who may not necessarily be engineers or even technically qualified in lighting still to see our industry, our profession, as something welcoming and open for them,’ Amanda says.

‘A lot of the feedback we got from the workshop session at the PLS was “we love the idea of a woman’s group but we’re not engineers”. So WLP is simply for people working within the lighting profession, whatever their role. And that means beyond even lighting-specific roles. It could be, for example, someone working within an admin or support role within lighting.’

MEN ALSO WELCOME
However, Amanda is at pains to stress that, even though the group is called Women Lighting Professionals, it will be welcoming to all lighting professionals: female, male or however you identify.

‘Men will be able to be part of the WLP, 100%. We’ll totally love to have men as advocates for WLP, to be allies to the group, to come along to WLP-branded events,’ Amanda says.

She points out, for example, there are many issues where conversations need to be done in collaboration not isolation. For example, lighting safe (or safer) spaces at night, understanding the needs of women when designing outdoor space and lighting, or the need for properly designed PPE for women.

For employers or managers too (male or female) there is real value in understanding how to manage important female health issues, such as menopause or reproductive health (for example period pain or endometriosis) and fertility.

Finally, WLP will be aiming to work closely with other like-minded industry bodies, such as Women in Lighting, Amanda emphasises. ‘With the support and engagement of all members – men and women – I do think WLP has the potential to grow really quickly and become something quite special for the ILP during its centenary year,’ she says.

NEED TO KNOW

  • The ILP is launching a new arm, Women Lighting Professionals, to complement both the main Institution and the YLP (Young Lighting Professionals).
  • It will run meetings, both online and face to face, and work to advocate for and celebrate all women working within the industry. The fi rst meeting will be on 23 January in London.
  • WLP will very much be open to male allies, advocates and supporters as well, and will aim to work closely with existing groups such as Women in Lighting.

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