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Women Architects Reporting More Bias

Monday, January 26, 2015

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Three in four women architects in the UK—a higher percentage than ever—now report encountering discrimination on the job.

That figure (76 percent) is up four percentage points from last year and 14 percent since 2011, according to a survey conducted by Architects’ Journal, a British publication.

The survey found that most of the discrimination occurs inside the practice: 62 percent of female architects reported discrimination in the office, compared with 50 percent on a building site.

© /kzenon

Half of female architects in the UK say they have experienced discrimination on the jobsite.

These and other findings were reported as part of the Journal’s fourth annual survey, “Women in Architecture,” which drew responses from more than 400 female architects in the UK. Previous surveys included figures from U.S. and Europe.

The Royal Institute of British Architects president Stephen Hodder said the survey findings were “unacceptable and shouldn’t be tolerated.”

Bullying on the Rise

Bullying is also on the rise among female designers, the survey found. More than 40 percent of female architects report they have experienced bullying in the past year.

Seventy percent of those architects said the bullying had occurred within the studio environment.

Architect Yasmin Shariff said, “Speaking from personal experience, no contractor would dare bully me, but my peers would not think twice about having a stab,” according to the Journal.

Jane Duncan, RIBA president-elect, says bullying should not be tolerated.

Bullying should not be tolerated in the workplace, Jane Duncan, RIBA president-elect, told the Journal.

“There is no question that both the recession and poor management practices contribute to a less-than-healthy working culture for many architects,” she said.

“There is a world of difference between actual bullying, which clearly should not be tolerated in any workplace, and a professional culture which seems too often to demand long hours and exploit staff loyalty to remain profitable—something that is unhealthy and a sign of poorly managed firms.

“Harassment in the workplace is illegal, whether it’s on a building site or in the office."

Pay: Unequal Gains

Meanwhile, salaries are improving across the board for both sexes, according to the survey results.

The number of architects of either gender working full time and earning £33,000 to £60,000 ($49,369 to $89,762) a year has increased from 49 percent last year to 60 percent.

women in architecture
© / nyul

When women architects reach the top levels of management, some get paid better than men, according to the survey.

However, there remains a pay disparity between men and women, and the issues arise upon entry into the profession, the Journal reported.

Fifty percent of full-time male year-out students earn £21,000 to 26,000 ($31,416 to $38,896), compared to just 41 percent of their female counterparts, the survey found.

Almost 30 percent of female year-out students earn less than £20,000 ($29,920) compared to eight percent of men, the survey said.

Women at the Top

However, when women do reach the top echelons of the field, they get paid better, the survey indicated.

Fifteen percent of female partners and directors earned more than £100,000 ($149,603), compared with just 10 percent of men. Last year, only eight percent of female partners and directors said they earned more than £100,000.

“The evidence published reveals the definitive picture of the life of a working, female architect today,” according to the Journal.


Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Business management; Business matters; Good Technical Practice; Industry surveys; Market; North America

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