Monday, July 30, 2012

Women in architecture: a global perspective

One of my readers recently hipped me to Parlour, an interesting blog/website regarding women in architecture. Parlour's articles and discussions are the best kinds of posts in that they are relevant to all culture, not just women.  I especially enjoyed one sociologist's post of why women leave architecture with a tied-in critique of Architect Barbie. Preliminary evidence in the sociologist's study revealed that women generally don't leave architecture to become stay-at-home moms but rather to take on another profession or to turn a hobby into a new job.

I find this relevant to both genders and all age ranges in architecture, but especially to our younger colleagues.  If we cannot rethink how our profession treats its future practitioners such that they can be suitably trained, challenged, and enriched, how can we foresee a future at all?  To be sure, some folks (of any age) leave architecture because they realize they aren't very good at it, but other leave to use their highly-coveted skills in another field altogether for a variety of reasons--more money, better hours, or perhaps more rewarding.  Preventing brain drain may not seem to be a real problem right now when the economy is bad and the market is flooded with qualified applicants, but it could be a major concern a year from now when things have improved.  After all, if all the good architects leave, who's left to run the profession?

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