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Men of Architecture - How Sexist Are You? Take Ian Martin's survey


Small practices present the biggest obstacle to gender parity in the architectural profession today.

According to new research hinted at exclusively in this sentence, many small practices are blighted by ‘institutional sexism’.

In some areas of the UK - Cambridge, possibly, and Teesside - prejudice against women architects has persisted for generations, particularly in small companies handed on from father to son.

At a time when most architects believe ruddy-faced bigotry to be a thing of the past it isn’t, according to the following quote: ‘Sexism is very much alive and kicking and talking about someone’s “tits” at the Chamber of Commerce Greenshoots Disco…’

So how sexist are YOU?

Please take this short quiz to find out. We regret that this questionnaire is for MEN ONLY. Lady architects are kindly asked for their patience; they will be furnished with their own questionnaire in due course.


If you could think of one tiny fault women architects have, what would it be?

·       Tend to know more than me, especially about sport.

·       Ideas ‘soppy’, not ‘urban’.

·       Can’t do car parking.

How do you think a woman architect could improve your practice?

·       If attractive, could be placed near front window to entice new clients.

·       Just, I don’t know, brighten up the day.

·       Cake choosing.

What constitutes ‘unreasonable behaviour’?

·       Refusal to work after 8 p.m for free.

·       Non-participation in perfectly harmless kiss and cuddle at office party.

·       Being pregnant during an important meeting.

What proportion of the architectural profession is gay, would you say?

·       Don’t know, figures in a closet somewhere.

·       50/50?

·       All architects who want more women in architecture, excluding women architects.

Is it OK to entertain a client at a lap dancing club?

·       Yes, perfectly in order, as almost certainly ‘ironic’.

·       No. Let the lap dancer do the entertaining, that’s what she’s paid for.

·       Depends. If the client’s a woman, maybe take her to a vegetarian restaurant or something.

How may we infer architecture’s ‘macho culture’?

·       Heavy massing.

·       Increased wind load.

·       Nude wrestling at the Architects Registration Board.

Should wolf whistling on building sites be tolerated?

·       No. These people aren’t in a union, and therefore have no so-called ‘human rights’.

·       Yes. If women can’t shrug off a bit of sexual banter, how will they ever learn?

·       Depends. If aimed at me and my new body-contoured wellingtons, no.

Is there a ‘glass ceiling’ at your practice?

·       Yes, but perfectly safe as women made redundant before they reach it.

·       Yes, but is a historic feature and cannot be removed.

·       No, pointless these days as women all wearing trousers at work.

Imagine it is the 21st Century. In this futuristic society, will there still be anything male architects can do that women can’t?

·       Express creative powers through facial hair.

·       Join the Freemasons.

·       Earn more than women.



Readers' comments (8)

  • There are more women under 30 in architecture than men, how could this be sexist? Could it be that most women didn't care about architecture in the past?

    Yours sincerely,

    A. Male

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  • Tripe to make men feel better

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  • Oh Ian. You are my hero.

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  • Is this supposed to be funny??

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  • A female colleague of mine was once approached by a junior female architect. The junior architect wanted to complain, to another woman, about the glass ceiling. She said "I feel my work is not being valued". My colleague said "That's not because you're a woman. That's because your work sucks".

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  • It's a dog eat dog world in architecture for women. They are plagued by sexist men and yet only look out for themselves...see the story above.

    Why any sane woman would enter the profession is beyond me.

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  • From my own meagre experience at uni a decade ago the ratio of men to women was about 50/50 during my part i reducing to 60/40 during my part ii and about 70/30 during my part iii ( figures are based on the PFA system plucked from the air and not
    actual scientific fact the point is less and less women during the subsequent parts). Now bear in mind we are talking about the north as opposed to the very open-minded metro sexual south and this all occurs before realistically any one has any real industry experience or ability to climb the lets face it very short corporate ‘step ladder’ in our industry.
    So I conclude that women are in fact far wiser than men and realise what the benefits and pitfalls before us men and opt out before it’s too late. Tres simple my chere friends, we are all attracted to the industry for the same reason, the design aspect but we quickly realise after gaining our sometimes good and sometimes not so good experience that in fact design is only a small part of what we do and the practical side isn’t as appealing for a large amount of people (men+ women) so they tend to dwindle off into other semi-related fields like knitting.
    Do they have these same debates I wonder about the lack of women in the lorry-driving industry or lack of men in the baby watching industry, I wonder? Lets face it we are equal but we are also made slightly differently put it down to our screwed up upbringing, peer pressure or social stigma, who cares. Just stop blaming your boss. Blame him for the lack of business nous and foresight about the credit crunch, cause that is his fault.
    Vote online now for a new public holiday “beat your boss day”.

    Only slightly bitter, im getting over it.

    Ciao for now.

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  • I'm told some of the comments objected to the sexist nature of the 'survey'. Others were emboldened to make their own sexist comments. Brilliant. Beyond satire. What a broad, and thick, profession architecture can be sometimes. Maybe I should have called it How Stupid Are You? Idiots.

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