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Women make up more than a third of new US architects

Bjarke ingels 57w new york
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Women now make up more than a third of people passing the exams for becoming a licensed architect in the US, a report has shown

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ (NCARB) annual By the Numbers report found that 38 per cent of those completing Architect Registration Examinations last year were female.

Further along the line, 36 per cent of newly licensed architects were women – up slightly from the previous year. On average, women earn their license almost 10 months faster than men.

But there remains some way to go as fewer than one in five certificate-holders were female in 2016.

The statistics mirror recent findings in the UK profession. The Architects’ Registration Board last month revealed that while 39 per cent of UK admissions last year were women, men still made up almost three-quarters of registered UK architects.

Meanwhile, 42 per cent of new participants in the Architectural Experience Program, which guides US licensure candidates through earning and recording professional experience, identified as non-white in 2016.

This was up three percentage points from the previous year. But racial diversity did not improve among newly licensed architects or certificate holders, according to the report.

London-based architecture critic Beatrice Galilee said the industry needed to work towards a proportion of women and minority groups that mirrored the population.

‘There are a number of very strong female role models in architecture in the US, and recently particularly in education,’ she said.

‘Amale Andraos at Columbia, Deborah Burke at Yale and Monica Ponce de Leon at Princeton are fantastic examples, as well as influential leading professionals like Liz Diller and Jeanne Gang.

‘I hope that the Architectural Association, in its search for a new director, will reflect on the positive influence a female leader can bring, not just to the school but to the profession.”

NCARB chief executive Michael Armstrong said the pool of people entering architectural schools in the US was increasingly diverse.

‘Our recent streamlining and updating of programmes, without sacrificing rigour, have removed impediments that have historically delayed or discouraged the pursuit of licensure,’ he added.

‘These changes have positively and holistically impacted the licensure path, while also adding value to those considering this career option. Fewer impediments in the path – combined with a stronger economic outlook, new role models from diverse backgrounds and an improved focus on making the journey more logical – are creating a positive trend toward a more diverse community.”

Central Saint Martins architecture lecturer Ruth Lang called for more understanding of why women were lost between education and the workplace in the UK.

‘There is evidently under-representation of women and minorities in the UK, particularly in comparison to the education recruitment statistics,’ she said.

‘But there seems to be little understanding of exactly what happens to prevent these groups forming a more significant part of the profession in the UK.

‘We need some joined-up thinking between education and registration to better understand what happens during the transition in practice.’

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