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'Discrimination still rife in architecture' says SOBA

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A leading member of the Society of Black Architects, Wilfred Achille, has hit out at the government, claiming it does not take the issue of equal opportunities in architecture seriously.

Speaking last week at a meeting of Architects for Change, part of RIBA, the partner in Mode 1 Architects claimed there is still a real problem of discrimination in the profession. He said: 'Architecture needs to see equal opportunities as more than just a chore. It ought to be embraced.'

Achille said SOBA had laid out plans to change attitudes, only to see them quashed by apathy. 'We have put a series of plans on the table, but neither the government nor the wider profession seems remotely keen on taking them on.

'The biggest problem is in education, ' Achille added. 'We have found architecture students are scared to talk about discrimination because they have invested so much time and money in their schooling. They do not think they can afford to rock the boat.'

Speaking in the same debate, Angela Brady, of the Women in Architecture group, drew attention to the problem of encouraging women architects to stay in the profession. She told the meeting: 'While 37 per cent of architecture students are women, the statistic is only 12 per cent in the whole profession.

Clearly we are haemorrhaging female graduates.'

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