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RIBA qualification can become a straitjacket


While heartily supporting Isabel Allen's editorial on 'women (still) leaving the profession' (AJ 3.4.03), I'd like to add a thought to slightly change the focus. The RIBA's hand-wringing appears even more strange when viewed from the Brighton school where half our degree students don't aim for RIBA Part 1 anyway.

After their equally rigorous three years they have a BA in interior architecture, and off they go happily into a wide range of careers, often much lighter on their feet than their architect equivalents. Often the majority are women. Importantly, most do not step sideways out of 'our profession' at all.

The issue - as I suspect it often is for women after RIBA Part 2 - is not so much searching for 'an alternative career' (as your article supported); more, it is being less entrenched than men in the masculine, professional organisations, less concerned with certificates and status and more adept at moving lightly across varied careers (often acknowledging space for child rearing), within and not beyond the multifarious world of architecture and design.

Maybe, to echo Isabel Allen, we ought to be encouraging more of their male counterparts to follow suit.

John McKean, by email

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