Thursday, 9 January 2014

women in architecture - Architect's Journal

Architects Journal women in architecture
Statue of Athena, Athens

Women In Architecture - Architect's Journal  11 Nov, 2010

"We need to challenge the ridiculous stereotype that says construction and architecture isn’t for women by encouraging girls at schools across the country to understand that it’s a great career path just like law and medicine which have similarly arduous professional registration and long working hours."
I have to disagree with her on a few counts. Based on hours worked, salaries paid and likelihood of redundancy, ARCHITECTURE IS NOT A GREAT CAREER and I don't think law is nowadays either. However, there can't be a worse career than architecture when you compare the expense and effort involved in training to be an architect in the first place.

The state high school I went to did nothing to discourage me, as a girl, from pursuing a career in construction. There was no "ridiculous stereotype that says construction and architecture isn't for women" that Sherin Aminossehe talks about. In fact, I remember being encouraged by my school to go to a university open day at Heriot Watt engineering department in Edinburgh. 

As the 1st year ratio in most architecture schools is an almost 50/50 split of males and females how can high schools be to blame for the small numbers of practising women architects? I considered doing a degree in civil engineering and in the end opted to study architecture as I was also arty - big mistake.

It's true that some lecturers  in architecture schools can be very discouraging to female students - watch this video to see how Peter Eisenmann speaks to a female student whose standing right next to him (he refers to her the entire time in third person). Architecture departments, when I was there, had many arrogant, sexist individuals working in them. Personally I could take this, but if they decide to do everything in their power to ensure that you never become an architect (by singling you out and failing you) then there isn't a lot you can do about it. Male students, often the more attractive ones (this is just an opinion), can be singled out for punishment too. 

I've written a book, BRICK WALL, and this blog, in the hope that I can prevent at least some young people making the same costly mistake that I did. That is my only aim as I now run a few successful enterprises. Campaigning against the way architecture schools in the uk operate has become kind of a hobby.

One person wrote on a student forum that he wouldn't have chosen architecture if they had read my blog beforehand. Some people don't want to know the truth, think that being treated unfairly will only ever happen to some else, some even attack the messenger, but for those of you who are open-minded and not already wealthy, then reading my book (or at lease doing more research) could be a very smart thing to do.

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