How might we as architects participate in creating better future, if the opportunities in architecture are not equal?
The (insufficient) equality and accessibility in architecture replicates the situation throughout society. Success in architecture depends on the ability to navigate a competitive environment where every advantage counts and empathy is sidelined. However, the issue of equality may raise questions: what kind of architecture do we value? Should the architect rather impress or care? How can we provide equal conditions, where everyone, regardless of their gender, origin and social status, are free to pursue their chosen path in life?
Although a female architect, particularly in today’s Europe, does not represent a transgression of social norms, discrimination against women can still manifest itself secondarily. Women in a wide range of fields are less likely to gain the confidence of investors that they can handle larger budgets. Women architects also bear the double burden society places on women in general of work and care. In the Czech Republic, women habitually take a relatively long time for child care (up to 3 years) and the insufficient capacities of preschool care do not give them many other options. Women thus drop out of the workforce for several years. Due to caring commitments, they often only undertake smaller projects. Those women who nonetheless succeed in achieving greatness in architecture can still be deprived of recognition and authorship in favour of their male colleagues.
“We have all been trained conventionally by and with men, who have often devalued or ignored our work, describing it as ‘emotional’ or ‘confused’. As practising architects we have often felt alienated and marginalized. In order to revalue our ideas and feelings, we have always tried to do work together, to go to meetings and give talks in pairs and to discuss work in progress with a larger group. We have learnt from working with women who have not been trained as architects. They have questioned conventional assumptions about design and have been excited by the possibilities of creating buildings that suit their needs.”
This figure represents the difference between the average wage or salary of women and the average wage or salary of men.
This term describes the fact that women are more likely to work in certain industries and men in others. So-called male occupations are usually more prestigious and tend to be associated with higher remuneration, which significantly increases the overall gender pay gap.
The low representation of one gender in a collective of the opposite gender has specific manifestations that are closely linked to a number of gender stereotypes:
This is a situation where the career growth of some men (typically younger, of majority race and sexual orientation, etc.) is facilitated because women are often omitted from participation in certain important activities, e.g. strategic meetings or specialised training.
The glass ceiling describes the barriers (often hidden) that prevent a particular gender, social group or minority from reaching some of the more prestigious positions. Contributing factors to this phenomenon are, for example, organisational practices informed by stereotypes or the lack of opportunities to reconcile personal life, family and work.
The queen bee syndrome refers to a woman who is successful in her career but refuses to help other women to achieve the same.