Paternity and shared parental leave as allyship

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08 February 2023

06:00 PM

Hogan Lovells, Atlantic House, Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2FG

parents and baby

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Many women experience negative impacts on their careers by taking maternity leave, from microaggressions and being treated differently by co-workers before going on leave to anxieties about being absent from work and about returning after a period of extended leave. Some women experience discrimination, with their career progression stymied by their decision to have children.

Less discussed, however, are the reasons which are preventing fathers from taking paternity and shared parental leave, and the impacts these are having on D&I in workplaces in Britain.

Real Estate Balance invites members to a panel discussion exploring how fathers can support their partners and colleagues who are mothers with the act of taking paternity and shared parental leave and how employers can make their workplaces fairer and more inclusive by encouraging and supporting fathers to take extended time off during the early months of their child’s life.


The benefits of maternity and paternity leave on family wellbeing are well established, the culture of fathers taking the full entitlement of leave is not:

  • 32% - less than a third fathers take paternity leave, according to research by EMW.
  • 3.6% - the actual take up of shared parental leave according to a Maternity Action analysis of UK government figures
  • 75% - a survey by the CIPD showed three-quarters of men feel there is a stigma attached to taking paternity leave and nearly all agree that workplace culture needs to change.
  • 2 weeks – the minimum an employer must offer as paternity leave (subject to 26 weeks of continuous employment) at 90% of average weekly earnings. The statutory minimum for maternity leave is 52 weeks with statutory pay for 39 weeks (subject to 26 weeks of continuous employment) and the option to reduce this through shared parental leave.


Samantha McClary

Samantha McClary (Chair)
Editor, EG

Samantha McClary has almost 20 years’ experience in real estate and business journalism, covering a wide range of topics. Alongside making sure EG delivers the best, most helpful, most accurate and, of course, most interesting content to EG’s readership across all platforms – print, online and audio – she also plays a leading role in enabling and delivering a more diverse environment for the real estate community through EG’s REWIRE and tech initiatives. A keen chair and regular wearer of too bright trousers, she seeks to help keep panel discussions and events lively with audience participation and insightful questioning.

Melanie Collett

Melanie Collett
Head of Asset Management, Aviva Investors

Joined investment industry: 1993
Joined Aviva Investors: 2018

Melanie is responsible for the Asset Management across the Real Assets business encompassing Real Estate Debt and Equity, Infrastructure Debt, Private Corporate and Structured Debt teams - a sector-specific team of around 100 investment professionals, supported by the operating model to deliver first class solutions for our Clients.

Prior to joining Aviva Investors, Melanie was Head of Asset Management at Round Hill Capital – responsible for the establishing and on-going management of a Pan-Euro management platform backed by a number of American Private Equity Partners. Prior to Round Hill, Melanie was Head of European Underwriting for GE Capital Real Estate, where she was for 13 years. Melanie joined GE Real Estate in 2003 as an Associate Director within the Investment team.  in 2006, she was promoted to Director level with the BD team, focussing on debt and equity transactions in the European Real Estate business. Melanie was promoted to Head of Debt Restructuring and Asset Management in 2009, focussing on the workout / Asset Management of a $5BN loan book in five jurisdictions in Europe.

Melanie has over 20 years of valuable experience in Real Estate debt and equity and is a qualified Chartered Surveyor with experience in banking, direct acquisitions and leading business teams through change.  

Martina Malone

Martina Malone
Managing Director, Global Head of Capital Raising, Prologis

Martina Malone, managing director, global head of capital raising, is responsible for client relations and capital raising with Prologis’ global investor base. Her focus is to develop and deepen relationships with institutional investors and consultants across the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Prior to heading up the team, Ms. Malone was responsible for institutional investors in Europe and the Middle East. During her tenure at Prologis, the team has raised over $23 billion of capital for Prologis’ funds globally.

Prior to joining Prologis in 2010, Ms. Malone was head of European client relations and capital raising for JER Partners for eight years. Previously, she was at Deutsche Bank AG as vice president in the European Securitization group. Ms. Malone also served as vice president, asset finance, at Credit Suisse First Boston, and served in various real-estate-related roles at Hypo-Bank in Munich and London.

Ms. Malone holds a master’s and a bachelor of arts from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and spent one year at Ecole de Management in Strasbourg, France. She is an active member of INREV and the Real Estate Balance Policy & Campaigns Committee, an initiative that encourages greater gender balance in the Real Estate industry. She is a German national and is fluent in German, English, French and Spanish.

Michael Meadows

Michael Meadows
Head of Planning and Public Affairs, British Land

Michael is Head of Planning and Public Affairs at British Land and a member of the company’s Development Committee.

He is responsible for British Land’s planning activities and government engagement across the UK. This includes leading on planning strategy and delivery across our London campuses.

Michael has over 18 years’ experience in planning and has been responsible for delivering some of British Land’s largest planning consents, including our first net zero carbon building, 100 Liverpool Street; 1 Triton Square; 1 Broadgate; 2 Finsbury Avenue; and the heritage-led regeneration of Norton Folgate.

Michael has twice shared parental leave with his wife, Olivia, and their sons, Finn and Raffi.

Kirsty Wilman

Kirsty Wilman
Executive Director, Business Management, Federated Hermes Ltd
Non-Executive Director, Real Estate Balance

Kirsty is Executive Director – Business Management, working with the Real Estate CEO to set and execute a strategy focussed on growing the Real Estate business with new products, strategies and clients. She supports the Fund Managers on all corporate, financing and structuring transactions. Kirsty is also responsible for setting and implementing an ESG and sustainability strategy across the Real Estate portfolio with a team working to ensure ESG is fully integrated in all decisions made in the Real Estate lifecycle.

Kirsty held previous roles at Federated Hermes as Director of Finance and Operations in Real Estate and Head of Private Markets Operations where she was responsible for the financial reporting, controls environment and operations for all Real Estate client mandates. Kirsty is also a Non-Executive Director of Real Estate Balance Limited which is an organisation working to improve the diversity of the Real Estate industry. Prior to joining Federated Hermes, Kirsty was a Senior Manager at Ernst and Young in Audit and Assurance working with Real Estate and Entrepreneurial clients.

Kirsty has three children, aged 10, 7 and 3 and took nine months of parental leave with each of them and, with her second and third children, her husband also took three months of shared parental leave.

Intended outcomes

  1. Provide a forum for real estate industry leaders and professionals to discuss the cultural and financial barriers which are preventing many fathers in our industry from taking advantage of often enhanced paternity and shared parental leave policies.
  2. Influence fathers on the importance of parental and shared leave both as an act of allyship with their colleagues who are mothers and for the wellbeing of their partners and children.
  3. Confront the stigma many fathers still feel, with the ultimate aim of identifying initiatives to normalise taking extended periods of paternity and shared parental leave.
  4. Promote the benefits for businesses of progressive parental leave policies on areas including recruitment and retention, employee wellbeing and fairness and inclusivity.
  5. Publicise the discussion through REB social media (on-the-night and pre- and post-event), the On Balance D&I newsletter and, if possible, via a property industry publication.

If you are interested in attending, please click the button at the top of this page to request a place or email