FIG Task Force on Under-Represented Groups in Surveying




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Global Network for Female Surveyors, by Sara Wilkinson, UK

Personalities: Analía Argerich, Argentina

UN-HABITAT's Land and Tenure Section UN

Global Network for Female Surveyors

by Sara Wilkinson, UK

This brief report outlines the progress made on the Global Network for Female Surveyors. This web based network is intended to create a network for female surveyors working all over the globe. The network intends to debate current issues and best practice affecting females throughout their surveying careers. The network has received funding from three organisations FIG, the Royal Institutional of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Sheffield Hallam University based, Land Use Research Club.

We have advertised the network project at a number of conferences. At the FIG Paris conference in April 2003 we presented our plans to the Working Party for Under-represented Groups headed by Gabriele Dasse. The idea was warmly received and the working party endorsed it. We were able to convey our idea to female surveyors from Australia, Germany and Sweden. We were also able to get names of female surveyors form the delegate list and will contact them to make them aware of the launch of the web site in due course. We have gathered names of female surveyors from other conferences such as COBRA (RICS UK Conference) and ASPR (US conference).

The website

After initial meetings with female surveyors to discuss the contents of the website, we decided to have pages for careers, research, courses, mentoring, student sections, books, links to other sites and best practice. The website is currently being designed and will be launched in February 2004. We will provide details of the website address in the next FIG Newsletter so FIG members will know where to access the website.

The virtual conference

Planning for a virtual conference is underway and we envisage having our initial conference looking at the 'Past, Present and Future for female surveyors'. We will compile an initial contact list and also use mailing lists from the RICS, Association of Building Engineers (ABE), and FIG to advertise the conference in February 2004. The Call for Papers will go out in February 2004 with submission for May 2004.

We are looking for short papers 2000 words long and the theme of the conference is based on the past, present and future experiences of female surveyors. We think this will provide a good starting point for the Global Network and provide us with an opportunity to compare and contrast our experiences. Some female surveyors will provide key note papers for each session and all the papers will be available on the network.

We will be asking female surveyors to provide some of their gender related research for our research page in the New Year and in this way we hope to get our network established.

And finally...

We want to have quarterly newsletters (May, August, November and February) to update everyone on initiatives, best practice, conferences and so on. Finally it is very much intended to be a resource for all female surveyors, whatever area of surveying you work in, at every stage of your careers, wherever you work. We see the initial set up as being something that will definitely change over time. The changes will be initiated by the surveyors who visit the site giving us feedback on what they want to see on the site. So when it is set up please let us know what you think.

Sara Wilkinson


Analía Argerich was born in Catamarca, Argentina, where she has always lived. There she also did her graduate and postgraduate studies and has been working in her profession. Now 44 years old, she confesses that she is absolutely happy with the career she has chosen. At the beginning she could regard it as a strong vocation for surveying. Now it has become today’s permanent motivation, which makes her enjoy each of her everyday activities.

In 1986 Analía graduated as a Surveyor Engineer from the National University of Catamarca (UNCa, School of Technology and Applied Sciences) and immediately turned to freelance activities but one year later she incorporated as teaching assistant to the subject “Physical Geography” (Surveying Engineer, National University of Catamarca), working part time. Since then she has been having the immense pleasure of making her “other vocation”, that of working in education, come true. As a teacher it is her aim to transmit this enthusiasm for her subject – as a Professor, now of Physical Geography and of postgraduate courses-, and for the career too.

Until 1995 Analía went on working part time freelance practice and university teaching. She accepted then the proposal of becoming a full time teacher, because of the research projects she was developing with subsidies from the University’s Secretary of Science and Technology and because she had started her PhD studies. She holds a Diploma in University Teaching of Technological Disciplines from the School of Agricultural Sciences and the National University of Catamarca, Argentina, in agreement with the Central University of Las Villas, Cuba (1999). One year later, in 2000, Analía got her PhD in Surveying. PhD studies in Surveying were created in UNCa in 1989, and this course of studies has been the first of its kind in Latin America and the only one up to now, recognizing its antecedents in the German university model in Land Surveying studies.

The first PhD graduate, a Brazilian resident, got his degree in 1998. Analía Argerich stated, that the fact of being the next graduate in 2000 gave her the immense pride and the huge responsibility of becoming the first woman in the country and in Latin America to obtain a PhD in Surveying. After the reorganization of the course of studies for the PhD in Surveying, near the end of last year, she was designated as its first Academic Director. The challenge consists in extending, in the short term, the horizon of highly-qualified human resources in order to strengthen research and contributing for postgraduate education. The fourth level, natural and necessary basis for the development of a coherent academic career, facilitates its shaping so that the career admits institutional assessing, at the level of the institution as well as at the levels of teaching, research and extension to the community.

Analías main activities in research and publications were oriented towards solving land occupation conflicts and later to techniques of digital treatment for satellite images to the study of land and the evaluation of natural resources. From her beginnings in teaching and research, Analía has participated in nearly forty Conferences related to her field and has published approximately 50 papers in scientific magazines and national and international events. With particular pride Analía mentioned the first prize of “Agrimensura” magazine (a publication of the Argentine Federation of Surveyors, FADA), for her paper “Surveying in the New Millennium”. Besides this, FIG Foundation’s support has caused great joy. Thanks to this she has been able to develop the project “Distance Professional Updating in Remote Sensing” –addressed to professionals in surveying- (FIG Foundation Grants 2002).

Especially after finishing her PhD, Analía had the possibility of taking part in different FIG events and activities,. She participated for example in the International Conference on Spatial Information for Sustainable Development in Nairobi, Kenya in 2001 and in the FIG Congress 2002 in Washington, DC to present papers. In Nairobi as well as in Washington, she had the great honor of representing FADA (Argentine Federation of Surveyors). Besides this, at the beginning of this year, Analía was designated Argentina’s representative for FADA for the “Surveying Studies in the American Continent” working group of FIG Commission N°2.

Finally, after Washington’s Congress last year, Analía joined the Commission Working Group on Under-Represented Groups in Surveying, because it is her concern to achieve equality of opportunities. Analía said: “We must favor, in particular, the very little support land surveyors in our area have as regards postgraduate studies, specially if we bear in mind the scarce resources that landscapes like our country’s show.”

In order to achieve the first goal, professional practice support, she mentioned, that it is necessary that all institutions join hands in their effort. That’s why FIG’s activity is so valuable. When it comes to the second goal, post-graduate studies from the PhD’s Academic Direction, Analía is channeling all her efforts to get sponsors to establish research on a firm ground, and creating a fellowship system that would make PhD studies possible for everyone.

Analía Argerich: “I will always be grateful to my School’s authorities, who supported my research. And to my husband, the person who for 23 years has been cheering my projects. We haven’t had any children. Truly speaking, I deeply wish for this.”

UN-HABITAT's Land and Tenure Section

UN-HABITAT's Land and Tenure Section, formerly known as the Land Management Programme, was established in May 1999, under the Shelter Branch. It is the agency's focal point for land management and tenure systems, policies and legislation that help achieve adequate shelter, security of tenure and equal access to economic resources for all, with a specific focus on gender equality.

Dr. Clarissa Augustinus Chief of the Land and Tenure Section reported for this Newsletter that there are four key activities the Land and Tenure Section has been working on since she joined UN-Habitat:

  1. Publishing of the Handbook on Best Practices, Security of Tenure and Access to Land on the web and in print (still forthcoming)
  2. Development of a land management evaluation tool for post conflict situations. This tool is under development with their Disaster Management Unit, and is based on experience in Kosovo, Afghanistan, South Africa, Mozambique and Iraq. It covers aspects such as the securing and reconstruction of land records, placing conflict over land at the core of the peace-keeping agenda, including due process and adjudication mechanisms in existing technical processes to prevent abuse, creating appropriate hierarchies of evidence relating to land records.
  3. In Kenya, where the headquarters of UN-HABITAT are located, a new government has come to power and they intend to deal with problems in the land sector in a more just and transparent fashion. UN-HABITAT was recently requested by the donors in the sector, to coordinate the donors in the land sector in Kenya (urban and rural), in their work with the Government of Kenya. This is being specifically undertaken by the Land and Tenure section. The Section is involved in the preparation of the land sector donor groups documentation for the upcoming Consultative Group meetings. These meetings take place between the Government, the World Bank and the development partners in the country.
  4. At the Governing Council of UN-HABITAT in May, 2003 a resolution “Women's role and rights in human settlements development and slum upgrading” was passed as a mile stone resolution:

The Governing Council,

Recalling the commitment made by Governments in the Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements to ensure the full and equal participation of all women and men and the effective participation of youth in political, economic and social life,

Recognizing that the empowerment of women and their full and equal participation in political, social and economic life, the improvement of health and the eradication of poverty are essential to achieving sustainable human settlements (resolution 17/11 of 14 May 1999),

Bearing in mind the importance that the Habitat Agenda, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), places on women's equal access to adequate housing, land and property, and the importance of all actors adopting and implementing policies, laws and programmes aimed at the realization of these rights,

Recalling paragraph 23 of the Habitat Agenda, which states that, "[w]hile the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of all States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development",

Recalling further paragraph 24 of the Habitat Agenda, which states that "implementation of the Habitat Agenda, including implementation through national laws and development priorities, programmes and policies, is the sovereign right and responsibility of each State in conformity with all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, and taking into account the significance of and with full respect for various religious and ethical values, cultural backgrounds and philosophical convictions of individuals and their communities, contributing to the full enjoyment by all of their human rights in order to achieve the objectives of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development",

Recalling the Commission on Human Rights resolutions 2000/13 of 17 April 2000, 2001/34 of 23 April 2001, 2002/49 of 23 April 2002 and 2003/22 of 22 April 2003 on women's equal ownership of, access to and control over land and the equal rights to own property and to adequate housing, as well as the emphasis placed on women's equal access to land, credit, adequate shelter and basic services in the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development,

Stressing that the impact of gender-based discrimination and violence against women on women's equal access to adequate housing, land and property is acute, particularly during complex emergency situations, reconstruction and rehabilitation,

Also recalling the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women,

Mindful of the commitment to formulate and strengthen policies and practices to promote the full and equal participation of women in human settlements, planning and decision-making, made in the Habitat Agenda (inter alia, paragraph 184), and reaffirmed in the Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium6 (inter alia, paragraph 44),

Mindful also that in its resolution 16/6 of 7 May 1997 on women in human settlements development, the Habitat Commission had requested the creation of a Gender Coordinating Unit directly under the Executive Director in order to mainstream the gender perspective in all policies, projects, programmes and activities of the Centre (also resolution 17/11 of 14 May 1999),

Bearing in mind the United Nations Millennium Declaration and the resolve to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women as effective ways of combating poverty, hunger and disease and to stimulate development that is truly sustainable (paragraph 20),

Recalling also the Goal in the Millennium Declaration of making a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020,

Recognizing that women form a large proportion of the urban poor, especially those living in slums,

Recognizing also that urban poor women and children are particularly severely affected by unlawful forced evictions and emphasizing the need for promoting policy alternatives to unlawful forced evictions through the campaigns on secure tenure and urban governance,

Bearing in mind also the importance of the empowerment of women in the fight against HIV/AIDS,

Emphasizing that gender mainstreaming is a priority for the whole of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT),

  1. Requests the Executive Director, in developing and implementing UN-HABITAT gender policy, to promote the full integration of gender perspectives in all activities of UN-HABITAT, especially in the campaigns on secure tenure and urban governance and in slum upgrading projects;
  2. Requests the Executive Director in consultation with Governments to develop or, where they already exist, to strengthen mechanisms for monitoring the impact of human settlement policies and programmes on the lives and work of women in cities, especially those in low-income areas and slums, as well as strengthening women's networks and other organizations active in this area;
  3. Invites Governments to increase financial and other assistance to UN-HABITAT to enable the Programme to strengthen the mainstreaming of gender issues and the work of the Gender Coordinating Unit, in particular in support of gender-specific slum upgrading projects and especially those related to employment creation, women's empowerment, housing improvement and property rights;
  4. Also requests Governments to promote and protect women's equal access to adequate housing, property and land including rights to inheritance, and to secure access to credit through appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative measures;
  5. Encourages Governments to support the transformation of customs and practices that discriminate against women and deny women security of tenure and equal ownership of, access to and control over land and equal rights to own property and to adequate housing;
  6. Urges Governments to address the issue of forced relocation and forced evictions30 from home and land, and to eliminate its disproportionate impact on women;
  7. Urges Governments to promote the effective participation of women in human settlements planning and development at all levels of government and in particular to utilize the untapped resources and knowledge of urban, poor women in local community development;
  8. Also urges Governments to ensure gender sensitive implementation of slum upgrading programmes and in particular to emphasize poor womens rights and equal access to adequate housing and land and need for secure tenure, basic amenities and income generating activities and education and measures to protect women and girls against violence;
  9. Requests Governments to promote credit schemes for shelter and income generating activities that are affordable to poor women in particular those affected by HIV/AIDS;
  10. Also requests the Executive Director to include a report on the implementation of the present resolution in her progress report to the Governing Council at its twentieth and future sessions.


Editor: Chair of the Joint Commission Working Group on Under-represented Groups in Surveying
Ms. Gabriele Dasse, Kleinfeld 22 a, D-21149 Hamburg, Germany

1/04, month of issue: January

© Copyright 2004 Gabriele Dasse.
Permission is granted to photocopy in limited quantity for educational purposes.
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