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Lord Rogers seeks help to attract more women recruits

Richard Rogers Partnership is failing to recruit enough female architects and needs help to level out the six-to-one ratio between men and women, Lord Rogers has admitted.

Lord Rogers has personally approached the RIBA's Architects for Change initiative for advice, and senior architects at the practice's Hammersmith headquarters have been told to look more carefully at female applicants in a bid to improve the ratio. 'We are failing and we have failed for a long time, ' Lord Rogers said. 'We would be happy to do things to encourage those women who feel that large practices that do large buildings are not ideal for bringing up young babies. I'm looking for any ideas. '

The practice has 12 female architects out of a total of 77, which is better than the industry average of one in 10. But only one of its nine associates is a woman, Louise Palomba, and none of the partners are female. 'There's a tendency that, when we do get senior women, they move on and start their own practice, which obviously gives them more flexibility, 'said Lord Rogers.

Partner Ivan Harbour said that RRP has stopped short of positive discrimination, but has adapted its recruitment process to favour women by focusing less on the quality of candidates'portfolios.

'If you look at the quality of drawn work then you can see that the boys shine more than the girls, and we are trying to look beyond the flashy presentation and pay more attention to female applications, 'said Harbour. He said that the practice had suffered from appearing masculine with projects such as Lloyd's of London, which he described as 'far from feminine'.

'This is great that such a high-profile practice such as RRP is taking this view, ' said Architects for Change chairwoman Sumita Sinha. 'This would be very encouraging to others who are setting up their practices. While positive discrimination in favour of women is illegal, action can be taken to project the image of the practices as women-friendly. '

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