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A woman’s place

An AJ trip to Istanbul, courtesy of theTurkish Ceramics Promotion Group, proved rather interesting for many reasons not least among them the sheer number of women involved at high level in both architectural practice and the construction industry

Not only was the boss of Turkey’s biggest firm, Tabanlioglu Architects, a woman (Melkan Gürsel), so were more than 50 per cent of her staff.

When we visited the offices of rival firm Emre Arolat Architects, the presentations were given by three women. Our tour guide, an architect and PhD candidate at Istanbul’s Technical University (area of expertise: Byzantine-era Istanbul) was also female and the CEO of the biggest ceramics firm we visited again was a woman.

OK, our survey is hardly scientific, but casual conversation suggested more than half of Turkey’s architects are in fact, women – which was surprising to many on the trip whose first visit to the city it was.

More and more, it seems Britain, with its oh-so-low percentages of practising women architects, is looking like the sick man of Europe in this rather pressing matter.

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