Showing posts with label Discussion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Discussion. Show all posts

Friday, 8 March 2013

Introducing a New Guest Blogger Series - Women and the Built Environment

Introduction Rebekah McCabe (PLACE)

Photo by Robin Cordiner
As today is International Women’s Day, we think it’s the perfect 
opportunity to introduce a new series that explores the experiences of women working in the often male-dominated professions of the built environment. With their emphasis on phallocentric structures and ‘master-plans’, these professions can appear inherently macho, which, along with persistent and pernicious beliefs about the spatial perception of women compared with men, can make carving out a career in this field a challenge for many women. And this is before we begin considering the imbalance in how domestic and childcare obligations are distributed between men and and women within many households, and the impact this can have on career progression.

The gender divide is particularly pronounced in Britain and Northern Ireland. In the introduction to her 2009 book Full Irish: New Architecture in Ireland, Sarah Lappin points out that the 11-13% female membership of RIBA compares rather unfavourably with the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland’s 30%.  

So, how is this experienced by women who study and work in these professions? Do women find they have to work twice as hard to be considered half as good as their male colleagues, as we hear echoed so frequently across many industries? Do women have to play by rules set by men, or can they pursue fulfilling careers on their own terms? And what is the implication of gender inequality on the output of professional work - does the underrepresentation of women in the planning, designing, and construction of our built environment have an impact on the shapes and styles of our towns, our cities, our homes?

Today, opening the discussion and reflecting on her personal experience as a professional architect, and offering practical suggestions for bridging the gender gap, is Tara Florence of Ard Ciaran Mackel Architects.

Guest Blogger Tara Florence (Ard)

Rocked to sleep as a child to sounds of Three Point Creek in rural Alberta, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, my mother instinctively set my life course to be one that would challenge the roles women had been given in this world, as her mother had with her. Alberta was a province of ranchers and oil men, and one which often paid lip service to gender equality but fell far short in reality.