You know the stats: 49% of architecture students, 39% of interns and 17% of firm principals/partners are women. The Washington DC area Women in Architecture Series goal was to engage, empower and encourage women architects to lead. Did the Series produce a crop of future leaders? Only time will tell. The 3 part lecture and 1 part social networking definitely planted seeds among the attendees, but what’s next?
Recognition. Throughout the series, I had the opportunity to encounter extraordinary women. Some who are quiet in their leadership roles and others who are loud and proud. These women, who vary in ages, cultural backgrounds and career experiences, don’t receive the publicity and recognition they deserve. As a supplement to the series, VVoices was created as a blog series that features a diverse group of women architects. We need to recognize achievement because it’s a reflection of ourselves. We are passionate about our careers and the world needs to know that there’s more than just a Jeanne or Zaha out there.
Mentorship/Sponsorship. I contribute the 22% gap from intern to principal to the lack of mentorship and sponsorship among women. We don’t support each other when it comes to career advancement within our own firm. It’s not just about work performance; its the generational gaps, cultural understandings, and how we handle work/life balance that discourages us from helping one another. Again, we gotta support each other, engage and encourage all to continue with architecture and become leaders.
Let’s get together. There are several Women in Architecture events this year. At National Convention Equal Roles, Equal Voices is a pre-convention workshop on Wednesday June 19 from 1-5pm. Women in Architecture Dinner which is moderator by Kathryn Prigmore on Thursday June 20 from 6:30-9:30. This fall, there’s a Women’s Leadership Summit on Thursday, October 24 through 26 at the Palomar Hotel in Phoenix AZ.