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Wise up to the flexible working we all desire

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The article on women leaving architecture (AJ 3.4.03) makes depressing reading if one assumes (as I do) that students graduating from architecture courses set out on that arduous path with the ambition to become architects. Why a dropout rate of 70 per cent? I would assume this is higher in architecture than in other maledominated professions.

The Women into Engineering & Science (Wise) campaign has had considerable success in the past 10 years in recruiting women into fields at least as macho as architecture. Maybe it is the insecurity and low pay of architects (made worse by the flooding of the market with graduates) that leads to a highly exploitative job market, whereas engineers are having a struggle to recruit outside London.

But there is some good news for women in the workplace;

women now represent 33 per cent of UK management; we score among the top 11 countries out of 30 surveyed. Some 58 per cent of women working have young children, despite the fact that Britain has the poorest pre-school provision of any country in Europe.

But, as of last week, we have some family-friendly legislation which goes some way towards altering the perception that parenting is a female-only responsibility, with the introduction of the right to parental and paternity leave and flexible working hours.

Kate Macintosh, Winchester, Hampshire

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