Women need more confidence in the workplace, leading practices say
Members of the AJ Women in Architecture partner’s programme have highlighted confidence as a key issue for women in practice
Issues associated with poor confidence levels, such as reluctance in presentations and networking, are said to be holding women back, according to members of the AJ Women in Architecture Steering Committee, which held its first meeting last week.
Joanna Bacon of Allies and Morrison, said: ‘Women lack confidence in the workplace’.
‘Confidence is an industry wide problem. Women are reluctant to put themselves forward in the profession. It is ingrained and part of our make-up’, commented Darling Associates’ Liz Moran.
Suzette Vela Burkett of Aukett Swanke described what the practice had been doing to increase its women’s confidence levels: ‘We have run vocal coaching to help increase women’s confidence and presentation skills.’
She added: ‘If more women were in practice then perhaps confidence levels would improve.’
Allies and Morrison has also introduced mentorship and training to help its female employees. Bacon said: ‘We have begun a drawing class – more women signed up than men. There is a hunger for skills amongst women.’
She added: ‘We also run presentation skills training – again more women asked for this than men. It is helpful for confidence.’
Marks Barfield’s Gemma Collins said on site was where women lack confidence. ‘It is a very male environment’, she said. This reflected the results of the AJ’s Women in Architecture survey which showed a shocking lack of respect for female architects. Two thirds of the 710 women respondents felt the building industry hadn’t fully accepted the authority of the female architect
While Kate Moore of Darling Associates said the problem was more significant in young people: ‘Our practice used to have a 60:40 split – female:male. We didn’t have any problems with women’s confidence – it seemed to be a problem among young people.’