Why do women leave architecture?

Updated on August 8, 2019 in Debates, Ideas and Discussion 2019

Why do women leave architecture RIBA

Research into the retention of women in architectural practice. The expert group provided advisory input on the formulation of recommendations. The members were selected for the expertise in the following areas: -the business case for the inclusion of women, flexible working practices and general equal opportunities issues. The group was cross-disciplinary to facilitate the exchange of effective practice across the professions.

Key Findings: Why do women leave architecture? UWE found that there was no definitive answer to the central question. A number of identifiable problems did however come to light. The reasons why women left tended to be a combination of a number of factors and or a ‘final straw’ moment. Some of the key issues are as follows:

Low pay
Unequal pay
Long working hours
Inflexible/unfamily friendly working hours
Sidelining
Limited areas of work
Glass ceiling
Stressful working conditions
Protective paternalism preventing development of experience
Macho culture
Sexism
Redundancy and or dismissal
High litigation risk and high insurance costs
More job satisfaction elsewhere

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There was little evidence that women left because they were incompetent designers or that they no longer wanted to be architects. One major concern is the extent to which some architectural practices are operating outside current legislation in relation to employment practice.

UWE made quite lengthy recommendations identifying what actions could be taken and by whom. These ranged from actions that individuals and practices can undertake to those which the Professional bodies can instigate.