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Students - Women in architecture survey 2013

Thirty per cent of female students have been bullied

The student view is important because it represents the future of the profession. Students (including Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 1 year-out and Part 2 architectural assistants) are enthusiastic respondents to the survey. One third (33 per cent) of female respondents are students; just under one third (30 per cent) of male respondents are students.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of female students are aged 21-25, and 47 per cent are based in London. More than half (52 per cent) have suffered sexual discrimination in their fledgling careers in architecture. Nearly a quarter (22 per cent) have suffered or witnessed sexual discrimination on a monthly or quarterly basis in their careers so far - less than the 26 per cent experienced by the wider group of women respondents, but still worrying.

Thirty per cent of female students have been bullied. Fifteen per cent of female students say they were bullied at architecture school - meaning that a significant group has been bullied while working in the profession.

Not surprisingly, most female students (97 per cent) do not have children. But they have very definite thoughts about the impact of having them: 88 per cent think that having children puts women at a disadvantage in architecture.

In answer to the question ‘Has the building industry fully accepted the authority of the female architect?’ 66 per cent of female students answer ‘no’, compared with 61 per cent of all women respondents. In contrast, 35 per cent of male students answer ‘no’ to this question.

Female students are marginally more optimistic about the level of opportunity for women in the industry than female architects - but rather less so than male students. Forty-eight per cent of female students think there are as many opportunities for women as for men, compared with 43 per cent of female architects. A massive 85 per cent of male students think there is equality of opportunity. Meanwhile 56 per cent of female students think opportunities for women in architecture are getting better, compared with less than half (48 per cent) of female architects. Sixty-four per cent of male students agree.

Training questions are particularly pertinent to the female student respondents. Nearly a third (30 per cent) think the current system of architecture training disadvantages women, with the length of training causing most concern.

‘Does the current system of architecture training disadvantage women?’

Women students respond:

‘The length of the course means you often cannot have a family (or even save for a family) until later on in life’

‘By the time you graduate Part 3 you are ready to have children!’

‘The current system of architecture training disadvantages all involved, regardless of their gender’

‘In my eight years of studying architecture I have never felt disadvantaged for being female’

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