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Who is the most talented woman in your practice?

If you value the women in your practice, nominate them for a Women in Architecture Award, says Christine Murray

Winning awards is key in architecture - it raises the profile of your practice and its work, is a barometer of your excellence for potential clients, and it raises staff morale, making them feel recognised in the industry and proud of the work that they do.

That’s why practices should nominate or encourage their talented female staff to enter the AJ Women in Architecture Awards. Nominating your staff for these awards shows that, as an employer, you value the talented women on your team.

And it’s a great way to boost staff retention and motivation for the emerging talent within your firm. In addition, thanks to its star-studded jury, our three-year-old awards programme has already landed significant enquiries and commissions for shortlisted architects.

The benefits of entering (and it’s free) are many. As for the AJ’s ambition for the awards, they emerge directly from the concerns raised by our annual AJ Women in Architecture survey (now online, and male or female, please fill it in). Nearly 900 people (700 women) completed the survey last year, and the results were shocking: 44 per cent of women think they would be paid more if they were male and 89 per cent think that having children puts them at a disadvantage in the profession.

It is our view that if women architects working within major firms are winning awards (and new projects) this will encourage practices to value their women equally - encouraging equal pay, career progression and flexibility around maternity leave and other pressure points.

We also hope the awards promote role models for young women architects - an issue raised by women working in firms with no female directors.

By increasing the visibility of successful women in architecture, we hope to convince women in practice that they, too, have a promising future in the profession.

Although university architecture places are about equally taken up by male and female students, just 21 per cent of registered architects are female, according to the ARB figures for 2012. This campaign is about equality and, by celebrating women in the profession, you can help us redress the balance.

Go to TheAJ.co.uk/WIA to register your nominations for the AJ Women in Architecture 2014 awards in the following categories:

The Jane Drew Prize
A lifetime honour awarded to the person who has made the greatest contribution to the status and profile of women in architecture. Nominations should include the candidate’s name and a brief outline of the reason behind the recommendation. Previous winners: Zaha Hadid (2012), Eva Jiřičná (2013).

Woman Architect of the Year
Open to architects working within practices, practice leaders or sole practitioners, this award recognises excellence in design, thought leadership and a role model for aspiring architects, with an emphasis on achievements during 2013. Submissions should include a maximum 300-word statement outlining recent achievements in projects and practice, alongside images of recent work. Previous winners: Walters & Cohen (2012), Alison Brooks (2013).

Emerging Woman Architect of the Year
This award recognises design excellence, thought leadership and a bright future ahead with an emphasis on achievements in 2013. Emerging architects must have been in their role for no more than five years and do not need to be fully qualified. Submissions should include a maximum 300-word statement with images of current and completed work. Previous winners: Hannah Lawson (2012), Olga Felip (2013).

 

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