9 May 2012

female power in architecture

Kathryn, 21, Part I student, reports on the female power in architecture talk at the RIBA

Twenty twelve has been a year for women in architecture, and to continue this, Fran and I attended the Female Power in Architecture talk hosted by the RIBA. There was a good turn out and the overall evening was a great experience.

The guest speakers were asked three questions: what was their highest achievement, what was the secret to their success and where women in the profession will be in 20 years time. There were some strong speaker such as Alison Brooks and Deborah Saunt, with discussions about the importance of confidence and collaboration ('bigger companies helping smaller companies'), and how architecture is 'not about making objects'.

One message that was touched upon was that there are not enough women involved with the built environment - master planners, engineers, builders. It was an issue that was not really discussed and no one really mentioned what women in architecture will be like in 20 years time. We have definitely seen an improvement to women in architecture in the last 20 years, but it is a slow progress. Overall it was a great evening and we were able to meet other women architects, but hopefully architects and those in the built environment will continue to question and debate the topic of women in, not just architecture, but women in the built environment, and what can be done to aid this movement.

Fran adds
I'd like RIBA women to be a bit more political and a bit less individualistic - for instance how are high fees going to impact on women? It is already the case that women often finish training only shortly before having children, how will the extra debt impact? How can the RIBA be more proactive in encouraging more family friendly working practices? - that means male architects taking time off for children too, and so on...

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