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'There's a tremendous amount of sexism', AJ editor Murray tells BBC's Woman’s Hour

AJ editor Christine Murray hit out at the ‘latent sexism’ in the industry and unequal pay during an interview with Jane Garvey on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour this morning

Talking about the shocking results of the AJ’s women in architecture survey on the programme, Murray highlighted that 70 per cent of those surveyed had experienced sexism at some point in their career yet, worryingly, many architects remained blind to the issue.

She said: ’ [In response to our survey] one man wrote that the “very ethos of the survey was an insult and a needless attempt at equality”. 33 per cent of men said the male/female ratio was about right in architecture and didn’t need to change. About 20 per cent said equal pay was not an issue at all.

‘It’s very disconcerting because you can’t tackle an issue that people don’t want to see.’

The radio interview follows the launch of the three new AJ awards in support of women in architecture, including the return of the prestigious Jane Drew Prize.

Murray went on to give some eyebrow-raising examples of sexism in the workplace. She told broadcaster Jane Garvey: ‘Women… were told they could have the job if they slept with one of the partners, [another] woman applied for a job at the same practice as her boyfriend and knew she was offered a lower salary, even though her qualifications were far higher.’

Murray also highlighted the pay gap affecting women directors: ‘Even when women get the title, they don’t necessarily get the pay.’

The deadline for nominations to the Jane Drew Prize, Woman Architect of the Year and Emerging Woman Architect of the Year is in two weeks’ time. The awards are part of the AJ’s campaign to raise the status of women in architecture.

Click here to listen to the interview, approximately 27 minutes in: BBC Radio 4.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Delighted to hear AJ editor's feedback on her AJ survey on lack of Women in Architecture. We at RIBA fully support this campaign. What a pity I did not join you as the second woman President of RIBA, I could have filled in the gaps! We have led campaigns for diversity in architecture for 12 years and made steady progress with mentoring, role models, careers in schools and support to wia colleagues. We have a European group of wia and we all face similar problems. We now have further obstacles with the high cost of education for long courses, followed by low pay when you graduate which will kill of the diversity we so desperately need. see www.women-in-architecture.com and info on my Twitter.com/AngelaBradyRIBA We still have much to do to retain women in our profession. I believe we must promote the value of what we bring to our profession and to society. We need our male partners and colleagues to support and value us so that together we can create better architecture and built environment and all enjoy a better quality of life.
    Angela Brady RIBA President 2011-13

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  • It is a shameful that some practices and practitioners still live in the 1950's. You would think that their education alone would nullify such attitudes - or is just the herd mentality? Some of the best firms I worked with were those with a good male:female balance and just happened to be in London. These had an edge and a dynamic that made a studio feel vibrant. I am certain the architecture produced arose from this mix. Working in the provinces, as I do now, the balance and dynamic is difficult to achieve as the supply of women Architects appears to be significantly less in the sticks.

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  • Christine Murray is VERY interested in the "plight" of FAMOUS women architects- how VERY COURAGEOUS of her to be working together with those famous and rich women architects that have obviously faced so much adversity in their lives, which ended in FAME and money! Queen Bee'ism is alive and well...thank goodness!

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