Now in its fourth year, the Architects' Journal's Women in Architecture survey is firmly embedded into the discussion of gender roles within the architecture profession. Collected from an anonymous cross-section of practitioners, clients, consultants, engineers, developers, PRs, and academics, the 2015 survey focused on the UK alone, and saw the number of participants soar to an unprecedented high of 1,104 respondents, 20% of whom were male.
Results from previous years' surveys have sparked discussion amidst the architectural and mainstream media alike, and have been cited by RIBA and the UK government. The survey covers four main topics -- pay, practice, education, and children -- commencing with broader questions about discrimination before narrowing its aperture to more specific issues. View the results of the 2015 survey after the break.
When asked whether they had suffered sexual discrimination during their architectural career, 75% of female respondents said that they had. Of the 41% who identified as victims of "[bullying] while working in architecture," 68% said the incidents in question occurred within their practice. One respondent stated that "the worst experiences have been from clients and colleagues," while another described how "after a woman left the office, one man phoned a colleague to report what she was wearing." Yet the findings suggest that workplace bullying is not unique to females, with nearly a third of male respondents reporting similar experiences. Of these, 60% said the bullying had occurred in the office. Noted one respondent: "Our practice is very political."
While the figures are inconclusive on whether workplace bullying is necessarily gendered, other issues clearly are. The gender pay gap in the middle of the salary scale is closing—22% of women now earn in the £33,000-36,000 pay band compared to 24% of their male peers — though remains pronounced at both extremes. Thirty eight percent of female directors earn less than £37,000 while 19% of their male counterparts do, and males outnumber females in the £75-99,000 pay bracket at 6.7% to 1.5%.
The report reflects on how women have attempted to circumvent this issue, namely by "[stepping out of the typical hierarchy...[and gaining] a higher level of responsibility and autonomy." Eleven percent of female respondents were self employed, compared with 7% of males. Forty nine percent of women work in practices with fewer than 26 staff members. Women are leaving larger practices, the report suggests, with a sense of defeat. "I can't see opportunities ahead of me due to the rigid structure," one respondent said.
The subject of children was also broached, with 87% of female architects responding "yes" to the question of whether "having children puts women at a disadvantage in architecture;" the same amount responded "no" when the same question was asked substituting "men" for "women."
Responses of male participants are equally as revealing. When asked if they thought there were "as many opportunities for women as there are for men in architecture," 82% of male students said "yes," and when asked whether they were paid more than their female colleagues, a third of practitioners said "no." Here the importance of the AJ Women in Architecture survey is made starkly evident; legible and easy to digest, the survey foregrounds issues of which many are simply not aware.
More on AJ's Women in Architecture surveys can be viewed here.