Although the number of women and men who are entering and graduating from architecture schools is positively equal, the distinction between genders in practice is causing a strong perception of gender-based diversity.
We surely can say that today there are numerous exceptional and successful women working in the field of the architecture in Australia. The bad news is the existence of striking scarcity of women in the architecture practice. There is evidence of gender based pay inequality and further, female architects are more represented like part-time workers.
One research from 2011 shows how architecture is compared to other professions. The conclusion was that the “Architects and Landscape Architects” group has the lowest proportion of women, while “Interior Designers” has the highest. Other professions included were “Solicitors”, “Medical Practitioners”, “Accountants”, “Graphic and Web Designers”.
Another research from 2012 aimed to understand women`s participation in architecture in Australia. It gathered information about 1 237 women and 918 men who had experience of working in the field of architecture. The results were saying that 94.2% of female respondents and 97.2% of male respondents had formal qualifications in architecture. On the other hand, women respondents were more likely to be employees than employers (8% of women were employers, compared to 26% of men).
Why women leave the architecture profession? This is an important question because about 40% of women architectural graduates are not entering in this industry. Some women left architecture because they aspired to contribute to a larger urban change. Also they reported disapproval with current definitions of architecture. There are multiple other factors behind women`s departure, like: low salary, long hours and of course, motherhood. Women with young kids described their careers as “stalled”, “unsupported”, “on hold”, “shaky” and “slowed down”.
There is no doubt that the architecture profession can and will change to become more flexible, more inclusive and more equal. If architecture becomes more equal than it will be able to fulfill its own potential.