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WIA partner: Foster + Partners

‘Being part of the Women in Architecture programme for the past year has been an incredible experience’

Being part of the Women in Architecture partner programme for the past year has been an incredible experience. Not only has it been an industry-wide platform for discussion and debate on issues women in architecture face today, but it has also allowed Foster + Partners to engage more fully with its talented female partners to help create a more level playing field in the practice.

We have formed a focus group, with representatives from across various disciplines, to discuss specific topics that affect them and their close colleagues. One of the areas that has received widespread support is mentoring. Some colleagues who have been with the practice for many years are happy to mentor our younger teams, giving them the confidence to succeed and work through the many hurdles that might arise throughout their careers.

Another initiative that we have started is to review maternity and paternity arrangements, looking at how we can flexibly accommodate requests over and above our statutory commitments. Several internal focus networks via Yammer have also been set up to create practice-wide connections and networks to highlight issues related to diversity and women in architecture. We look forward to continuing our partnership over the next year, highlighting wider issues of diversity within the workplace.

Charlotte Sword, head of HR, Foster + Partners