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Better childcare needed to keep women in architecture, says Brooks

BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour discussed the AJ’s Women in Architecture (WIA) campaign ahead of Friday’s awards (22 March)

Shortlisted Woman Architect of the Year, Alison Brooks together with Claire Devine, chair of Women in Architecture, spoke out about why women leave the profession on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour.

Describing architecture as a ‘calling’, Brooks explained how the long hours caused by competitiveness resulted in problems and childcare issues.

She said: ‘It is difficult for women architects to afford the expense of childcare. One of my campaigns is to encourage government to change tax policy so that childcare is tax deductible.’

‘For women to be a major force in the workplace we need to consider childcare as a business expense. So it should be deductable’.

Speaking about the number of women architects in the UK, which currently stands at a fifth of all architects, Devine said: ‘It is a depressing statistic to see. The number is affected by the formative years of being an architect.’

She added: ‘It is a shock coming out of university education to becoming an architect. You need a supportive practice.’

Readers' comments (4)

  • chris Dyson

    i completely support these views, we must make it easier for talented women architects to follow through their careers in a fulfilling way that will ultimately benefit society. we must lead the way as a developed nation in a sensible and pragmatic way.

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  • ‘It is difficult for women architects to afford the expense of childcare.' There's a clue here methinks. Stop seeing having children as a right rather than a privilege and expecting everyone else to bend over backwards to support you when you can't afford them. You would hope architects of all people would understand that introducing more consumers to an over-populated and under-resourced planet isn't the brightest move.

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  • Christine Murray

    I agree with Alison, and add to her point that women don't have children on their own. The burden of childcare cost is too often represented as theirs alone, but childcare is a shared cost, just like children are a shared responsibility. As soon as we consider the cost of childcare against the parents' two salaries, not one, a new picture of what is affordable emerges.

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  • This is an editorial comment: I'm quite sure I said "childcare costs should be deductible (from income) as an expense" not a taxable benefit. There's a fundamental difference. Can this be corrected? thank you. Alison Brooks

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