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Why do Women Really Leave Architecture?


Gender balance and gender bias are always difficult topics to discuss because few people have a foot in both camps and opinions tend to get polarized. However, might there be another facet to Maria's first point, that women leave architecture due to poor job satisfaction? I think that's possibly true, but the thing to consider is why equal numbers of men don't leave to profession for exactly the same reason. I suggest (tentatively, you understand...), that there may be more opportunities available to women wanting to diversify their career path than there are for men. This is something that comes to us from 'society' at large rather than being a problem confined to architecture. I theorize that our society (and that means all of us) is more accepting of women taking career breaks, moving into part-time work, staying at home to care for the children and (eventually) retiring early to look after the grandchildren, than it is of men wanting to do those things, because society still expects a man to 'man up', buckle under, take the strain and to 'provide' for his family. So when we consider why there are so many male architects we should also consider why there are so few stay-at-home dads and so few male primary school teachers (to give just two examples of where female architects have tended to go in my experience). Gender equality in the workplace is governed by rafts of legislation. But gender stereotyping in the home is firmly entrenched in our society, and we are a long way from equality in that arena. Mathematically speaking it must be impossible to get 50:50 gender split in the workplace until we get a corresponding 50:50 gender split at home, I think. Perhaps more emphasis should be placed on creating opportunities for men to leave the profession, following the lead of their female couterparts? I imagine there are many who might wish to, but don't feel able. That would create a better gender balance amongst those architects that remain....!

Posted date

29 December, 2015

Posted time

12:22 pm


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