Earlier this week RIBA unveiled its results from the December 2011 Future Trends Survey. Andrea Klettner of bdonline reports that although the overall trend in architectural practices is a decrease in confidence over future workloads, female employees seem to be hit dispropotionately by the challenges the industries faces. RIBA’s Future Trends Survey also found that female architectural staff fell 4% since 2009 and that between January 2009 and its most recent poll, female architectural staff fell from 28% to 21%. This news only emphasizes the findings that Architects’ Journal discovered after conducting its first Women in Architecture survey which quizzed 700 women “about career challenges as well as sexual discrimination, children, pay and role models”.
Read more after the break.
The findings of the survey come as a shock because they present a consistent opinion among woman of feeling disadavantaged in the field of architecture. The survey was open for one week with 671 respondents. Here’s the breakdown of their occupations: 48% architects, 8% architectural assisstants, 24% students.
Among the major issues reported were pay, discrimination, children and the stereotype of architecture being a male profession. Architects’ Journal reports that women were aware and concerned about the salary gap that they noticed within their own places of employment between women and men who were holding the same position. Forty-eight percent reported that they think they would be paid more if they were male.
The majority also reported that they have been sexually discriminated against in their architectural careers, which include inappropriate comments or different treatment. The answers also delved into the building industry as a whole, with respondents citing that they were treated inappropriately at job site and on-site visits.
For those who had children, most said they did not have trouble resuming their careers, finding alternatives such as becoming self-employed or setting up their own practices. But this just highlights how uncompromising the field is on personal and family time, and how employers may be unwilling to sacrifice energy on an employee that may take maternity leave or begin working part-time.
And in terms of architecture being a “male profession”, Ann-Marie Corvin notes that woman feel it is male dominated. Only 20% of UK’s architecture practitioners are female and are better represented in specific fields of architecture: design, interiors, residential architecture.
The Equality Act of 2010 was established to dissolve some of these conflicts that women describe, but current trends don’t seem to show that. The act states that all employees are “entitled to the same terms in their employment contract: the same or similar work, work rated as equivalent in a job evaluation study by the employer, work of equal value; and has made pay secrecy in employment clauses unenforceable”.
Architects’ Journal’s investigation is part of a broader campaign, which includes launching three new awards for women in architecture. To read the full article and see specific results from the questionnaire, follow this link: Shock survey results as the AJ launches campaign to raise women architects’ status by Richard Waite and Ann-Marie Corvin.