This Friday (March 8) is International Women’s Day 2019, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year the theme is #BalanceForBetter – creating a more gender-balanced world. Here at Pride Road, creating & realising gender-balance in architecture & building professions is something we’re very passionate about. It was one of the key motivators behind setting up the Pride Road franchise and continues to run at our core.
CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT FOR FEMALE ARCHITECTS TO FLOURISH
Together we strive to create an environment for female architects to grow their careers and to be successful without sacrificing their personal lives. Lisa has always recognised that change is needed in the current architecture industry. There are a lot of architects – women and working mums, in particular – who struggle with the inflexible and long working hours of traditional architecture practices. By going against the traditional way of running an architecture practice, we have achieved something that many others in our industry long for – a work-life balance that allows us to use our skills, experience, creativity, and training in a meaningful way that works around our family & what matters to us. We want to help more women run their own business and achieve a better work-life balance.
LOOKING TO THE NEXT GENERATION
Lisa Raynes recently had a 15-year-old girl shadowing her on work experience, and with a 14-year-old daughter of her own, she is consciously aware of what subjects and potential professions are being shown to young girls at school. Although architecture is still quite visible, (earlier last month it was actually reported by Architect’s Journal in February that a record number of women applied for architecture-related degrees) a lot of the other trades and building professions are not.
In her career, Lisa has come across a lot of extraordinary women who work in other building professions. Women can do anything, and it would be fantastic to see more women in these roles. With so many trades to choose from (plumbing, electrics, bricklaying, builders, joinery) and professions like quantity surveying, general surveying, real estate surveying, structural engineers, civil engineers, mechanical and electrical engineers, project managers, planners, transport planners, ecology, environmental, acoustics… all sorts! Also, in the building design arena, there are not just architects and interior designers, there’s architectural technicians too.
There’s a huge variety of courses around building to study at university and a lot of these careers have a quicker entry into the working world than architecture. Architecture is currently a seven year course (3 years at uni, one year in industry, a further two years at uni, another year in industry, and then professional qualifications) There’s a huge amount of cost and debt associated with becoming an architect. Other industries have an easier entry so you’ll become qualified younger and you’ve got access to a wide range of jobs. So if you’re thinking of going into architecture, have a look at other building professions too!
WORKING ALONGSIDE THE BEST
Magda Haener, the first architect to join Pride Road after Lisa, tells stories of her inspiration to pursue architecture from a young age, playing building games as a child. She had always hoped to have a career which didn’t have her tied to a desk and Pride Road became the perfect choice for her and her family. Now, she is so proud to associate herself with the Franchise and what they have achieved for women.
“I’m just proud that we manage quite well to run a female dominated company and even our consultants are mainly women”
Most of the professionals and consultants that Pride Road work with are women, showing there is an abundance of highly-skilled women out there! Some of the Structural Engineers, Building Inspectors, Quantity Surveyors, Interior Designers & other consultants we work with are Micaela Maccan, Brender Deka, Vivien Pascoe, Wendy Dowse, Yvonne Hogg, Justyna Śnigurska, Fiona Hull, Katie Green, Ruth Child, Cindy Downing and Natalie Holden.
That’s an impressive list!
IMPROVING GENDER BALANCE ACROSS THE PROFESSION
Catherine Traynor, award winning RIBA chartered architect, sees International Women’s Day as the perfect time to call on for private practices to offer more flexible working hours and styles;
“A lot of smaller private practices don’t offer or advertise part time positions which would help women and single parents with children in the industry. Also adopting a more modern style of working allowing people with families to work from home several days a week. This would help women to be able to stay in work and not feel that they have to choose between a family and their career.”
“We should also do more to break the harmful trend in the industry of working long and unsociable hours, and not getting paid for it. So many architects in their roles are expected to stay behind many hours after they stop getting paid to meet deadlines. This is devaluing the profession. I knew a lady who had a 10 year old son and in her job she was regularly having to stay behind till 10 or 11pm at night to work on a complex project as the directors of the practice weren’t providing enough resources and staff to get the job done in normal working hours. I think her situation is not uncommon in the industry. She was in this job for a year and a half and she felt she was missing out on her son growing up during that time. I don’t think anyone should have to do this whether you’re a man or a woman.”
Catherine would like to see the RIBA actively encourage practices to have healthy flexible working styles, and would also welcome a vast improvement in the ratio of men to women working in senior roles in practice.
CELEBRATING WOMEN IN ARCHITECTURE & BUILDING PROFESSIONS
This week, and indeed throughout the year, there will be events to celebrate the dedicated women making strides, despite the challenges they’ve faced in these professions. There is an evergrowing number of extraordinary women in the architecture, construction & planning professions worthy of celebration, including the six incredible women who were awarded 2019 RIBA International and Honorary Fellowships earlier this year.
There is a lot more work to be done to improve gender parity in our professions. Here at Pride Road, we are proud to support International Women’s Day and proud to be leading the flexible working movement for females in the architect profession.
If you’d like to take a look at what else is being done to pave the way for females in architecture & building professions – take a look at some of these organisations:
Women in Property – https://www.womeninproperty.org.uk/
Women in Trade Magazine – https://www.womenintrade.co.uk
Women in Building Services Engineering (WiBSE) – https://www.cibse.org/wibse-women-in-building-services-engineering/
The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) – https://www.ciob.org/blog/press-progress-women-construction
Women in Planning – https://www.womeninplanning.org/
Women in Construction Summit – https://www.womeninconstructionsummit.com/
Women in Housing – https://www.womeninhousingawards.co.uk/
Women in Architecture AJ – https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/women-in-architecture
Women in Architecture (RIBA)
Pride Road (Architectural Franchise) – https://www.prideroadfranchise.co.uk/