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Number of women architects in AJ100 practices rises again

Graph showing AJ100 2016 proportion of women architects
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The number of female architects working for the AJ100 practices is the highest it has ever been, with the UK’s biggest 100 firms now collectively employing 2,060 women

Proportionally the top 100 firms do better than the national average – 30 per cent of the architects in the AJ survey are women. The ARB register is made up of just 25 per cent female architects. 

However, the proportion of women employed by the AJ100 practices has risen by just one per cent from last year’s figure of 29 per cent. Contrast this with statistics from last summer, which showed that 41 per cent of new applicants to the ARB register were women.

And while there are some practices at the vanguard of equality – Formation Architects for instance, has more female architects than male – there are others with a very low percentage of women architects (find out who in this year’s AJ100 special issue, published next week).

Property and architectural business consultant Lucy Mori said that the low proportion of female architects highlighted a lack of progress in redressing the gender imbalance.

She said: ‘There were 30 per cent women in my architecture class in 1985! I am always shocked when I look at large practices’ websites, check who is running the business and see a majority of white middle-aged men. There is a very strong business case for having a more diverse management.’

AJ Woman Architect of the Year 2015 Teresa Borsuk, a senior partner at Pollard Thomas Edwards, agreed: ’The percentage of female architects remains consistently low and so, continues to be disappointing.’

John Assael of Assael Architecture added: ’I am delighted to see it’s going in the right direction and pleased see that there is more of a trend for women to qualify as architects. However, it’s not fast enough and therefore we need to find a better way; not just to help them graduate, but to retain them later in their careers.’

The winners of all the AJ100 awards and the full rankings will be announced at the AJ100 gala dinner at the Tower of London on 8 June.

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