Welcome to our blog
OpenBuildings blog is our personal take on architecture & design.
- All posts
- Our Opinion
"When I was younger I would bring a male associate with me to meetings since the minute the conversation got technical, all eyes would be on him rather than me. I was mostly the most qualified to answer the questions but that did not seem to matter.
I called this the Remington Steele phenomenon.
“Remington Steele’s premise is that Laura Holt, a licensed private detective played by Zimbalist, opened a detective agency under her own name but found that potential clients refused to hire a woman, however qualified. To solve the problem, Laura invents a fictitious male superior whom she names Remington Steele."
"I didn't particularly experience any direct discrimination. I always assumed a position of equality. However when I started working in practice I can remember some shocking ads using scantily clad women to sell fire doors for example. When I complained the reaction was a combination of surprise and embarrassment. I can also remember a meeting with a services engineer who asked me advice on behalf of his daughter who was interested in studying architecturewhile sitting his office with nude calenders on his wall. The irony was lost on him."
"...being a woman is different from being a man but it is only one of the cards you are dealt and how you play the game depends on the the whole hand."
"The only way we will achieve equality in architecture is by offering greater flexibility and promoting more women role models to inspire younger generations. When we look at today’s ‘starchitects’, for many the figureheads of our industry, they are almost entirely male with just a few exceptions.
Firms would benefit from a broader skill base by offering flexible working practices. If there is an understanding and respect among colleagues, then job sharing is a real possibility. In my previous practice, one of my key responsibilities was the hiring of professional staff. When taking up this role, women comprised less than 10 per cent of the workforce in our London office. A few years later, in part through the introduction of more flexible working practices and part-time roles, this balance had been redressed to 50 per cent, while still employing those most suited to the position in question."
"Women leave the profession for a variety of reasons. In part, they make the choice to not work at full-tilt in a setting that only accepts full-tilt or out-of-the-game. In part, they find the field unable to accommodate normal stuff like having a kid. But there are times when some idiot client gropes them or senior colleagues tell them to act more like a girl and they get tired of it. It is not a simple problem. Does that make architecture a man's world? No, but it does mean that only women who want to work very hard will find a place, while society is not teaching many women to be so tough."