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New culture supremo's pledge on representation of women

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Culture secretary Tessa Jowell kicked off Architecture Week on Monday evening with a promise to improve the representation of women in the profession and continue to put 'good architecture at the centre of a good, modern and efficient Britain'.

Jowell was speaking at the launch, held at the marketing suite alongside Foster and Partners' emerging headquarters building for the Greater London Authority at More London Bridge.

She said her background as employment minister had told her that women were 'significantly under-represented' in architecture, but she had been encouraged by visiting the RIBA to talk to 15-year-old girls about careers in the profession.

Jowell also emphasised that the government wanted to add to Britain's history of well-designed buildings. 'Architecture should never be seen as a bolt-on afterthought, ' she said.

CABE chief Jon Rouse said he wanted to see Architecture Week help solve a recruitment 'crisis' in the construction industry by opening up construction sites across the country to the public.

RIBA chief executive Richard Hastilow said the Architect in the House and Office initiatives were ideal ways to connect architects to the public. And Janet Street-Porter added that 'urban rambles' were another way to appeal to people.

Events lined up for next year's Architecture Week are understood to include a BBC TV programme called Watch This Space from the corporation's 'Imagineering' wing. The Arts Council is also planning to run a housing competition, the AJ has learned.

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