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Opportunities for female architects

mindthegap

Are women architecture students are given the same opportunities in the industry as male students? How difficult is it for women students to get a foothold in the industry?

 
Sep 21, 21 10:17 pm
b3tadine[sutures]

No. Very.

Sep 21, 21 10:40 pm  · 
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kjpn

as a young professional and teacher i am not seeing this

Sep 22, 21 9:36 am  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

Maybe historically, but most of my classes now have more women than men in them. 

Not sure what corporate practice is like but last time I was there, women were outshining and out-performing, if not out-earning men at all levels up to Director. Still a gap at principal level, probably generational.

In starchitect world there is almost perfect parity.

Sep 22, 21 9:56 am  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Honestly? We cannot rely on anecdotes, or personal experiences, we need to look at the numbers, and not just snapshots that professional organizations rely upon to tell us, all is well. It's not. It's it getting better? Perhaps.

Sep 22, 21 10:37 am  · 
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archanonymous

natematt quotes some numbers below from NCARB and the AIA... seems like we are absolutely getting better, if not fully there yet. I'm assuming if OP wanted data they would have just looked it up, but you come to a forum for opinions and discussion, which necessarily rely on personal anecdotes.

Sep 22, 21 11:18 am  · 
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archanonymous

Not to minimize the issues that women still face, especially when they have more melanin. 


I can't seem to find good breakdowns by firm type or sector on hard data. Will say that I've anecdotally observed that in my market more "old-school" firms doing less progressive work and more private res work tend to have whiter, older, and more male staff.

Sep 22, 21 11:38 am  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Oh, I agree, "mindthegap" is trying to flesh out conversation, I just want them to take a position, and let's have at it.

Sep 22, 21 12:02 pm  · 
2  · 
kjpn

'getting a foothold in the profession / starting out' is a different question to consider in this time versus 'the numbers' across the discipline at all levels. of course it was more difficult for women in pre-millenial generations, which you see reflected in some current firm leadership statistics. and there will always be more statistical imbalance in that regard because of having children, etc, and the challenges or choices women have to make with keeping career momentum. so, my feeling is that there is currently (thankfully) good parity starting out but it will always be an uphill battle for equity in terms of broad statistics at the upper levels of management and leadership.

Sep 22, 21 12:13 pm  · 
1  · 
mindthegap

I do feel there is a gap I am a student myself and I have experienced it several times. I did my bachelor's in another country so I agree that location does help. but I still know it’s not easy for female students. I have seen some male students get more than what they are talented for, and while that, comparing is not that solution. I actively follow and keep myself to date with advocacy platforms for women architects yet nowhere do they talk about students. I feel the gap is largely hidden at the bottom than at the top. I have seen so many of my female colleagues leave architecture after graduating..why? Because either they don’t get the job in fields for which they advocated. They end up “compromising” and doing a 9-5 job and eventually leave and while starting out a business is out of the question for a few. While this is not the case for all, there are still some women going through this. I feel this should be done in academics. I don’t remember having these conversations in my uni or being prepared for the real outer world. I still felt largely unprepared for these issues while stepping out. I agree these conversations are much more alive now, but is it really helping? maybe a little.

Sep 22, 21 7:37 pm  · 
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randomised

Depends on your location. I work in an all female office. The head of our national architects union is a young woman who is running her own practice, chosen by a overwhelming majority of votes by its members. the editor in chief of the most important architecture magazine here is a woman. directors/cofounders of some of the biggest offices here are women, building all over the world...and the majority of students are women, most women i graduated with are working at starchitects or have their own offices. So yeah, as real estate agents say, location location, location! I can imagine though that it is difficult for women living in religiously backwards societies like Afghanistan, the Middle East in general or the United States to be considered as equal and be given equal opportunities, stay strong!

Sep 22, 21 2:32 am  · 
2  · 
natematt

There are a lot of variables. But if you want general information... 

Per NCARBs and AIA numbers (in the US)
Almost 50% of people graduating architecture school are women. 
Almost 50% of new AXP applicants are women
Around 40% of new architects are women. 
And Around 30% of firm leadership is women. 

Perfect, no, but it seems like it's moving in the right direction considering where these numbers were even 10 years ago. While there are some gaps there, it seems like the issue about leadership should only be expected to resolve itself with a bit more time. The upstream improvements in recent years need time to take effect. That said, I'm not an expert on this data, and it seems like the history would suggest that there is still a lopsided attrition as people move up in experience which hopefully improves as well. However, I think this really fails to cover the more specific issues of how gender impacts career opportunities though... 

A summation of my personal observation is that there are plenty of places, cities, and firms that would be as happy to hire a woman as a man.... But also there are still plenty of people (men... mostly...) in architecture and the broader design/construction industry who have covert or sometimes overt issues with women doing the job, and it will impact your professional experience. 

Sep 22, 21 3:31 am  · 
3  · 
skittlebrow

The 2020 Pritzker Prize was awarded to two great female architects from Dublin. Half the board in most recognizable firms have women in prominent leadership roles. What it means exactly down the ranks is yet to be fully seen but certainly anyone working now will see an increase in female coworkers compared to ten or twenty years ago. 

Will there be opportunities? Yes. Will there be shitty people everywhere? Yes. They'll talk down to women, minorities, and anyone they see as lesser. Can't always choose your coworkers, can choose where to work. 

Point being, the chances for success for anyone has never been higher relative to the past. You will still need to work and earn it though. Everyone has their hurdles, it's not related to just one sex or gender or however the sociopolitical discourse goes today. 

Sep 22, 21 3:56 am  · 
5  · 
On the fence

I'm not seeing any issues that a women may be facing that men aren't as well.  Not saying that there aren't, just that in my small sphere, not seeing it.

Sep 22, 21 10:24 am  · 
1  · 
Almosthip

I have only had minor issues with a select few male contractors, and I live in the Texas of Canada.

Sep 22, 21 11:25 am  · 
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archanonymous

Lol @ "Texas of Canada!" Is that like Nelson, BC?

Sep 22, 21 11:36 am  · 
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Almosthip

Close, just one province over in Northern Alberta

Sep 22, 21 11:58 am  · 
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randomised

Any issues with female contractors?

Sep 22, 21 1:05 pm  · 
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Almosthip7

Nope no issues with the one female general contractor I have worked

Sep 22, 21 11:05 pm  · 
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