Women in Architecture, Construction Industry Gender Equality, Architectural Profession

Women in Architecture

Conference organised by the University of Huddersfield’s School of Art, Design and Architecture, UK

23 Feb 2018

International Women’s Day Event

International Women’s Day Discussion at Lady Margaret School

Wednesday 7 March (6.30 – 9.00pm)

Chaired by Natasha Kaplinsky OBE

Lady Margaret School’s Centenary programme continues with an International Women’s Day (IWD) Discussion, held at Lady Margaret School, chaired by Natasha Kaplinksy OBE on Wednesday 7 March; the evening before IWD 2018.

International Women’s Day Discussion in London, UK

28 Jun 2017

Women in Architecture Event

Women in Architecture – call for equality

RIBA President calls for step change in gender parity at conference

28 June 2017- Time for change was the call at a conference organised by the University of Huddersfield’s School of Art, Design and Architecture.

The conference, entitled Women in Architecture, highlighted the difficulties facing women succeeding in architecture and called for equality to be acknowledged and actively encouraged across all areas of the industry.

The University of Huddersfield, which received a Gold Award in the recent Teaching Excellence Framework, was ranked sixth in the country for architecture in last year’s Guardian University League Tables and the subject area scored 97 per cent for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey.

Delegates were welcomed to the University by Huddersfield’s Head of Architecture and 3D Design, Professor Patricia Tzortopoulos Fazenda, who set the scene highlighting the stark figures that show that women working in architecture was in decline and that generally one in five wouldn’t recommend it as a career.

Jane Duncan RIBA Women in Architecture event
photo courtesy University of Huddersfield

The keynote speaker was RIBA President Jane Duncan who took up the argument and since her appointment in 2015 has started to press for gender parity.

Ms Duncan has run her own practice for nearly 40 years and knows the challenges facing architects around the country.

She took her knowledge and campaigning to the national stage when she was appointed RIBA Vice-President for Practice and Profession. Her fight for the underdog took on new impetus when she became the Institute’s Equality and Diversity Champion. It was through this role that she felt she would achieve more if she were president, particularly in championing the cause for women both already in the profession and those joining it.

Jane Duncan’s enthusiasm for her profession and her passion for equality was very evident as she urged the student audience to work to change this disparity, particularly in terms of work-life balance and women having to sacrifice their careers to start a family. “You can be a success in business. Anyone can be a success in business – man or woman!”

She talked about the lack of career optimism amongst women in the profession and stressed the importance of engaging a mentor to help guide and encourage. “I’m convinced that women probably need it more than men,” said the President. “Above all, it will give you confidence to take the necessary risks to succeed.”

Her parting shot to raise the bar towards gender equality was that women architects need to be visible and act as role models for those following.

UK Gender Equality Inspiration

The morning keynote was delivered by Huddersfield professor Dilanthi Amaratunga, who is Director of the University’s Global Disaster Resilience Centre. Today she is Professor of Disaster Risk Management and though not an architect she was worked with architects and the construction industry for nearly 30 years.

Professor Amaratunga used her own career to offer a comprehensive series of tips on how she had learned to manage her career.

The inspirational list – “never promise what you can’t deliver, make connections, be patient and be prepared for setbacks” – though perhaps obvious in themselves collectively enthralled and inspired the audience.

Professor Amaratunga emphasised that to be successful you had to find that niche of your own.

“Know what you have to offer that is different, new or unique,” she stressed, adding, “at the very early stages of your career, it’s important that you identify what your ‘market differentiater’ is, your unique contribution or niche, and look for the gap that you could fill.”

She also stressed the importance of having a ‘good antenna’ to be aware of “what’s happening around you” and the need to manage your presence on the internet.

Also speaking on the day were award-winning architect Lisa Raynes, who is a past Chair of the RIBA Northwest Solo Practitioners Group and of Women in Property Northwest Branch, the Joint Chairs of Manchester Women’s Design Group, Val Garret and Joan Rutherford.

The University of Huddersfield

The University of Huddersfield is an inspiring, innovative provider of higher education of international renown. It has a national reputation in enterprise and innovation and has been the recipient of the Times Higher Education’s University of the Year Award and Entrepreneurial University of the Year as well as a Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. In the 2015, the University was recognised with 5 star status by international ratings organisation QS Stars for teaching, internationalisation, employability and for facilities and access.

The University annually welcomes 22,000 students to a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across subjects covering:

…the sciences, engineering and IT
…health, education and the social sciences
…business, management, law and accountancy
…architecture, design, humanities and the arts.

The University of Huddersfield’s researchers are dedicated to solving the problems and answering the questions posed by industry, science and society as a whole. Our pioneering research is showcased by internationally-recognised centres of excellence, strategic industry relationships and a commitment to providing state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.

The Chancellor of the University is His Royal Highness The Duke of York, KG, and the Vice-Chancellor is Professor Bob Cryan CBE.

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