The Women in Architecture survey provides disturbing insights into the experiences of 1,152 women worldwide – alarmingly, more than one in five would not recommend a career in architecture.
The 2017 survey results are now available – click here to view them
One in five women worldwide say they would not encourage a woman to start a career in architecture, while a similar proportion are unsure. In the UK, where the majority of respondents are based, women are most negative, with a quarter not willing to recommend architecture to another woman.
One of the contributing factors is likely to be perceived inequalities in pay between men and women.
Forty per cent of women worldwide think they would be paid more if they were male, with nearly a third unsure. While the survey does not include enough male respondents to provide the ideal data, it does provide some inputs into markets such as the US and Canada, as well as the UK, suggesting the pay gap varies significantly according to seniority.
At a senior level the data reveals significant discrepencies among salaries, with UK men at director, partner or principal level earning a 31 per cent premium of £19,500.
‘One in five women worldwide say they would not encourage a woman to start a career in architecture’
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It is notable that dissatisfaction among women is lower in practices where a significant proportion of management are women, and in practices with regular career development reviews and/or mentoring schemes, with mentoring the better of the two.
Percentage of permenantly employed female staff
Sexual discrimination, harrassment, bullying and victimisation
Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of women worldwide say they have experienced sexual discrimination, harassment or victimisation during their career in architecture. Of these, 38 per cent report direct discrimination, while 28 per cent report harrassment. More than one in 10 (12 per cent) say they experience sexual discrimination on a monthly, weekly or daily basis.
‘Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of women worldwide say they have experienced sexual discrimination, harassment or victimisation during their career in architecture’
Have you experienced sexual discrimination2
The survey also asks how often people have witnessed sexual discrimination – frequency appears highest in the UK, where one in 50 women report witnessing sexual discrimination on a daily basis, and almost half at least once per year. However, 31 per cent of UK men report never having witnessed sexual discrimination in practice, twice the equivalent among UK women. While much of the discrimination experienced by women may be in private or small groups, one wonders whether differences in interpretation mean that men are less likely to perceive or remember witnessing it.
The survey reveals that a high proportion of women in architecture do not have children, with 75 per cent reporting that they are childless – a birth rate far below the norm. The fact that 83 per cent of women worldwide agree that having children puts women at a disadvantage in architecture – nearly 90 per cent of UK women, and 97 per cent of Australians and New Zealanders – perhaps explains this demographic.
Work benefits and children
‘The survey reveals that a high proportion of women in architecture do not have children, with 75 per cent reporting that they are childless’
A majority of male respondents in the UK and the US and Canada agree. There is also evidence that women are delaying having children into their 30s, often late 30s. In the UK, just 17 per cent of women aged 31–35 have children, compared with twice that among surveyed men.
Does having children put women at a disadvantage in Architecture1
Do you have children
Read ‘How architecture cheats women: results of the 2017 Women in Architecture survey revealed’ here