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BBC slammed for ‘bias’ after Patty Hopkins is sidelined in TV show


Well done for highlighting the BBC’s cavalier attitude towards women architects (5 March 2014). The story of the Brits Who Built the Modern World has been oversimplified in an unacceptable, misogynistic account that reinforces the discrimination of women in the profession. The low pay (25% less) and poor registration numbers (21%) highlight current conditions and the last thing we need is such a poor account of history from the BBC. Airbrushing Patty Hopkins out of the illustration is entirely consistent with the way that Female Brits who Built the Modern World have been airbrushed out of living memory and their work trivialised and overlooked. Many have had their names and achievement absorbed into their partners. The true story of British Modernism is more complicated than the Famous Five playing with lego or mechano and building a Brave New World. Before any of the famous five were born, Norah Aiton and Betty Scott had designed and built, in 1931, one of the first high tech buildings in Britain- factory offices for Aiton & Co. in Derby. This pioneering steel framed building is an early exemplary piece of high tech design, yet hardly anyone has heard of it. Neither was there any mention of Mary Medd or Alison Smithson who both pioneered high tech school design. These women, like Su Rogers and Wendy Foster in Team 4, were not accessories and architecture was not a part-time interest or hobby when they weren’t changing nappies or cooking wholesome meals. For these pioneering women, architecture was a full time career, a profession they were passionate about and they were determined to make a mark in against all the odds. They were financially, intellectually and technically as adept as their male partners. It is about time their story was told. Equally yours Yasmin Shariff

Posted date

7 March, 2014

Posted time

1:28 pm