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letters Differences between the sexes are all in the mind

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Your correspondent, Santa Raymond, finalised her review of 'Four Women Architects' with the question, 'Why so few women architects (indeed conductors, or world class artists)?'

Females constitute half the human race, so it has long been a question of some importance.

Since the 1960s, and Roger Sperry's pioneering clinical and scientific investigations into human mentality, fundamental differences have been established in the way men's and women's brains are organised and operate, particularly in the differing ways we deal with space and time - the conceptual substance of architecture.

My presentation 'Architecture and Evolution' at the forthcoming 'Consciousness Reframed 2000' describes how space and time are expressed in architectural form. It sets out the basic parameters by which we can assess how sexually determined psychological differences have had a momentous impact on the evolution of civilisation and the concomitant development of architecture, over the last 10,000 years.

But times are changing very fast now. For better or worse the unrelenting de-industrialisation of the British economy marks a significant turning point in the way our society functions. We have entered an unknown political and economic territory, where both women and men are being forced to accept or develop new social and cultural roles. In nomadic tribal societies it is common for women to be both designers and constructors of the essential habitations. Now women in the most advanced post-industrial economies are beginning to assert their influence in areas long the preserve of men. As they occupy more commanding roles in our culture they inevitably generate a radical new approaches.

The Westminster feature showed how well those women have already established themselves in this new situation, encouraging others to follow.

By understanding the way our split-brain spatial-temporal consciousness has already selectively directed social evolution we can get some idea of what the future may hold - particularly ways in which men and women can 'constructively' coexist.

Why don't you assist the role of women in architecture with an occasional feature in which these very important new ideas and understandings are presented and debated?

John McClellan, Space-Cell Systems, London SW5

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