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Mark out your practice as an industry leader

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Back the Women in Architecture campaign with our new AJ Women in Architecture partnership programme, says Christine Murray

Last month the AIA awarded its Gold Medal for the first time to a woman architect: Julia Morgan. And if that news is not surprising enough (what took them so long?) the prize’s first-ever female winner has been dead for nearly 60 years.

Working on the AJ Women in Architecture campaign, it is not always easy to pinpoint exactly where we are on the journey to equal recognition. It can feel like women in practice have come a long way until statistics like the shocking gaps in pay uncovered by our survey, or the fact that last year the German Gottfried Semper Architekturpreis tried to honour Matthias Sauerbruch – without Louisa Hutton – for work they had accomplished jointly (it later rescinded its decision), awaken us to a stark reality.

As the AJ Women in Architecture campaign matures, we are increasingly moving from raising awareness to action. As part of this, our ambition for this year is to grow our annual programme, sponsored by Roca, to launch more education and outreach events and raise the profile of women within practices by providing more opportunities for networking and mentorship. This work builds on the success of events such as our Back to Work breakfast on managing maternity leave and career breaks, hosted by John McAslan + Partners last year.

To enable this, we are also launching a new way for practices to show their support for the campaign, boost staff retention, attract top staff and mark themselves out as enlightened employers in the construction industry: the AJ Women in Architecture partnership programme.

Practices that sign up as supporters of the campaign will enjoy benefits including a table for 10 at the inspiring awards luncheon at the Langham Hotel, early booking to all AJ Women in Architecture seminars and talks, access to the AJ’s future mentorship programme, your practice listed on all AJ Women in Architecture publicity material, and an AJ Women in Architecture ‘proud supporter’ logo for your website and email signature. If you are interested in this opportunity, please email Stephanie Geisler at stephanie.geisler@emap.com for details.

Tickets for this year’s luncheon are now on sale, and I’m pleased to announce that architect Patty Hopkins, co-founder of Hopkins Architects, will be speaking about her experiences in launching and developing one of the most successful practices in the UK. Hopkins went to the AA at age 17, where fellow students included Ed Jones, Jeremy Dixon and Nicholas Grimshaw. She worked for Frederick Gibberd in her year out, and ran her own practice from graduation in 1968 – while raising a family – until she folded her business to enter into partnership with Michael after he left Foster’s in 1976.

I will also be speaking at the lunch – baby permitting, and larger than life, as by then I’ll be nearly due with my second child. I look forward to seeing you there for what has become a highlight of the architectural calendar.

To book your ticket, or for more information about guest speakers at the lunch, and the winner of the Jane Drew Prize (which is announced next week) please visit www.theaj.co.uk/wia.

christine.murray@emap.com

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