We still see the attrition of mid-career women, and older firms’ glass ceilings still firmly in place Jane Duncan, Jane Duncan Architects

IS PAY EQUALITY THE MAJOR PROBLEM WHEN IT COMES TO GENDER IN ARCHITECTURE? Jane: Sadly it is, but it’s changing as staff are more aware. The younger generation don’t understand it, so there’s huge hope for the future. Sadie: I am always appalled to hear there is still a gap not only in pay, but in responsibility. It is definitely something we still need to highlight, but it feels like it’s getting better. Denise: Equal pay for the same job is not only a legal requirement but, as far as our practice is concerned, a moral obligation; gender pay reporting premised on mean and median differences should not be confused as suggesting unequal pay. What is inescapable is that currently we have too few women in the profession, particularly in the older age range. Ensuring equality of opportunity is an essential aspect of precluding potential gender issues. Fionn: Adequate childcare is still the biggest problem – people just assume the mother will generally take care of the children, ultimately, because we do not have

adequate paternity leave, maternity leave or daily childcare funded by the state, or set up by practices. Once suitable childcare is in place, women can compete on the same terms, and earn the same as men, currently women often have to work twice as hard to make the same progress. Angela: Generally the pay issue relates to the fact that women are poorly represented in senior positions.

DO YOU THINK IT'S STILL HARDER FOR FEMALE ARCHITECTS TO PROGRESS IN FIRMS THAN MALE COUNTERPARTS? Sadie: I don’t think so, and if it is, then go to a practice where you can. It is proven that a diverse workforce and senior management means you do better work and are more profitable. Firms making it harder for women to progress need to get out of the stone age. Angela: I still believe women face more gender stereotypes, particularly in regards to seniority. Jane: Good workers and good architects will always succeed if they are in the right practice, one that supports and encourages them. At the RIBA I helped to establish Practice Role Models to show firms how they could be a great retainer of people, and a successful and profitable company.

I have never subscribed to the notion of being a ‘female architect’ as distinct from an ‘architect’ Denise Bennetts, Bennetts Associates


HOW MANY FEMALE COLLEAGUES DO YOU HAVE & DO YOU HAVE A POLICY OF RECRUITING FEMALE STAFF? Jane:We have about 70 per cent women; these have been the best candidates, and we keep them too! We don’t have quotas or targets, but having a woman leading the company helps attract others. Sadie: All of our associate directors are women. We need to keep the momentum and ensure women understand they should be going for those senior roles and are absolutely as capable if not more so! Denise: Currently 34 per cent of our architectural staff is female and we have an overall ratio of 42 per cent women. We have recruited more women to architectural positions in recent years because there has been an increasing number graduating, and we have selected them based on their ability.

HOW DOES YOUR FIRM TACKLE THE CHALLENGE OF FLEXIBILITY AROUND CHILDCARE? Angela: Flexibility and work/life balance is key for all staff, whether it be for children, for elderly parents or even key


Adequate childcare is still the biggest problem – people just assume the mother will generally take care of the children

Fionn Stevenson, University of Sheffield

areas such as study. Denise: Parenting should be a joint responsibility and so we offer the same degree of flexibility to parents irrespective of gender. The agreed option has to be that which best serves the interest of the child and family, so we have three or four day weeks; nine day fortnights; different lengths of working days; work-at-home days, and we also discuss project location. What is important is for the arrangement to be understood by collaborators across the whole team. Jane: Everyone has issues: childcare, elderly relatives and dependents, physical or mental health, education needs. They are all our people and we accommodate and support them – that’s why we have no turnover of staff except for annual year out students! Sadie:We try to be incredibly flexible, not only around time, allowing people to leave to drop off and pick up, work from home, or work fewer days. We try really hard to have sympathetic conversations with individuals and try and make it work for both of us, maintaining consistency and keeping career paths open after maternity. It’s about a culture that doesn’t look at you strangely when you walk out the door early.

WHAT PARTICULAR STRENGTHS DOES A MORE GENDER-DIVERSE WORKFORCE BRING? Jane: It’s very easy to generalise, but a balanced board brings better results. A diverse range of ages and backgrounds is more fun – women/men, young/old, shy/pushy, technically capable/natural designers etc. We all bring something, and our clients like it too.


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116