Genderism and Architecture


They both had passion in house design and construction but they were crippled, one was gay and the other was a woman. This is a man's domain, it rejected all of them. Architecture is considered technically straight male profession. This clearly illustrates the typical stereotypes, for the sake of argument we will call the lady- Jane Doe, in terms of characteristics she has all the qualities a man has. May be she was one time a tomboy and never had the opportunity to build on her 'feminine side.' On the other side, the man - John Doe, dreamt of being an architect when he grows up but he realize that construction is not his in thing, in fact he hates it passionately. Maybe he could only appear at the construction site when checking out the guys doing some work at the site. None of his friends ever realized that he was gay, he kept it a secret.

Jane and John Doe represent the minority group in the architecture industry that are discriminated, subordinated and segregated; they both have dreams to succeed in this field just like the straight man.


Series of questions can be posted on whether the gendered space is initiated through architectural design, intentional acts, according to the architect sex or whether it comes as a result of the interpretive eyes of architectural criticism, theory and history (Rendell, J et al 2000 p. 98). Gender has been a key topic for several people over the years especially in the professional fields. Architecture have been and is still a male dominated field, the woman and the gay man have faced segregation and subordination in this industry, where the man braze the trail, the woman and the other minor groups struggle for survival. The woman, gay and lesbian don't even make it to the top to prove their capabilities; most of them give up along the way before they actually show their might. The dissertation tries to answer several questions.


The research is basically to investigate how the gay man and the woman architects have to fulfill certain stereotypes that do exist in a masculine profession like architecture in order to achieve success in the industry. The architectural field is a man dominated field, this implies that the minor groups have to undergo some discrimination, most of the feminine sex fails in this field, and just a few of them succeed. The research study targets are

  • The women who are still active in the practice,
  • Those women who have left the practice
  • Those still in academia
  • Women who worked in academia at one time but left
  • Women studying architecture currently
  • Women who took to studying architecture ten years ago but have dropped it.

The Research Approach

The undertaken research was primarily qualitative. It was looking towards identifying the worst case scenario. The research looked for opinions from the women who have stack to the profession and those women who have left. The research method used was basically a web-based questionnaire, literature review, excerpt panel, and depth interview.

There was 10 in depth interview carried out face to face, it mainly constituted women who worked in the field but have currently left.

Expertise was employed to give advisory input about the recommendations formulation. The expertise included; the business case for women inclusion, general equal opportunities and flexible working practices

Key Findings: How does woman practicing architecture and man practicing architecture have to fulfill certain stereotypes that do exist in a masculine profession like architecture in order to achieve?

  • Persevering on the low payments
  • Persevering on the discrimination on payment
  • Working for longer hours, proper time management
  • Being flexible to properly manage the un-family friendly working hours


Due to the hard working conditions and the poor workplace profile and culture, the research experts recommended some actions to be taken and whom to take the actions. The actions to be taken ranged from those that can be instigated by the professional bodies and the actions that can be undertaken by individuals and practices.

  • Better employment legislation dissemination and good practices
  • Equal opportunities practices inclusion in the professional bodies' codes of conduct
  • Returner retraining
  • More flexible and affordable CPD
  • Advisory and Mentoring
  • Representing the profession o the public in a more diverse way
  • Gender equality inclusion in both the practices and curriculum of architecture schools
  • Highly diverse profile of the staff in schools of architecture
  • RIBA advisory practice notes for both the architecture schools and architectural practices
  • A lot of career information and a lot of diverse representation in promoting career in architecture


Research Question

"How does woman practicing architecture and man practicing architecture have to fulfill certain stereotypes that do exist in a masculine profession like architecture in order to achieve?"

Research question Assumptions

  • Women and the gays are at their odds in the architectural career because it is a male dominated field
  • The woman and the gay man undergoes segregation and subordination in this industry, they therefore have to adapt to the work environment to survive as an architect.

Research Objectives

  1. To provide strategic recommendations on the best ways forward to advance better diversity within architecture profession
  2. To look for equal opportunity for all the gender
  3. To put forward change strategies in the industry
  4. The dissertation therefore will first prove beyond doubt that the industry of architecture is a male dominated field. Secondly it will be envisioned that the field of architecture is suitable for everyone- a level playing field. The study finally examines the plight of both the woman and gay from which the conclusions are obtained.

    Research Methodology

    The methodology adopted for the research study is the most effective in extracting the high quality responses required in a short time period and tight budget. The scope of the research is limited only to the woman and the gay man; the counter research on man or lesbian is ignored by the research. The study framework constituted mainly qualitative research method. It would have been cost in-effective and time consuming if the research used the existing data/ registers of the architectural students and practicing architects, further more this would have called for Data Protection Act in line to women who may have exited the profession.

    Consequently, the research heavily relied on word of mouth dissemination, existing networking, and through the public World Wide Web, the RIBA and finally the media to spread the word for the gay and the women to take place in the survey. The core methodology of the research was a web-based questionnaire which was very efficient as it guaranteed privacy of the participant, wide range participation.

    In summary, the web-based questionnaires addressed by the survey questions were framed around these factors;

    • Employment factors; career advancement chances, salary and status
    • Higher learning institutions cultures and education profile
    • Professional bodies and their conduct profiles
    • Policy implementation on equal opportunities within the professional practice and educational institutions
    • Quality of support and opportunities and the returners' flexibility office culture and their practice.
    • Career histories
    • Profession attitudinal factors and other parties attitudinal factors

    The Research Constraints

    • Limited time frame
    • Limited resources availability
    • Web site fatigue
    • No similar research about the opportunities for men
    • Limited time-frame to explore the good aspects


    The research methodology was obtained from the book 'Sexuality and Space' by Beatriz Colomina and Jennifer Bloomer (1996), here much of the house aspect designed is dependent on where the furniture is actually placed, ".spatial-psychological device (Beatriz et al 1996) read in terms of power also and the control regimes in the house. Control locus in a space also largely depends on the how it is actually designed, and the houses can always be designed to make humans levels of comfort reduced based on predetermined anthropological factors. For instance, if someone's personal space is invaded by a space, the first response of the attacked person would be to move away, the fright or fight syndrome. Such reactions belong to those who are not used to letting people to violate their personal space. Therefore, the "man's man architectural styling may be examined which are probably much different from those of a gay man or woman- which surprisingly may be environment friendly.


    Architecture, just like several other industries and professions, is still a field dominated by the male; the current figures from the RIAS (Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland) in Edinburgh revealed a membership of 470 women only against an appalling 3070 men, implying that women form a meager 13% of the total membership. While the ratio is still lower when compared to other countries for instance china, the female architect members from about 45%, this shows that the tide is changing (Karen, 2009)

    A report have been recently published by the European Commission have revealed for the first time the women scientists situation in 30 Europe countries. The report is to be launched in Madrid, it was organized by the European Union Spanish Presidency on "women and science: promoting women in the scientific sector". The report was prepared by HGWS (Helsinki Group of Women and Science). this brings together national statistical profiles which are very wealthy data source revealing scientifically how sex discrimination and segregation is a common feature of scientific careers in all the thirty countries. There is significant women skills wastage due to 'leaky pipelines', whereby the women do not complete their scientific careers, they drop along the way at all the levels. Generally the women currently constitute the larger percentage of overall undergraduates. Although the women are the minority in most of the science subjects and courses, like architectural sciences, they form the bigger percentage in biological and medical sciences. The closer the pick of academic hierarchy, the lower the women proportion, the women form the minority or very small number of individuals at the top of the scientific jobs. Philippe Busquin the research commissioner said that the data shows that the women scientists are actually underrepresented in the big scientific research positions.

    The men are indeed masculine, they have all the energy they need, and they have the knowledge and the skills to produce. They have all the energy to work at family un-friendly hours, and over several hours. The men have dominated the architecture field, all the blame of segregation in architecture profession is blamed on him. The woman feels oppressed at the place of work and all the blame directed to the masculine man. The men have occupied almost all the top positions in architectural firms, the women in most cases are not given the senior positions, they are seen in the eye of the man as weak people who cannot produce effectively in this field. Generally the men are entrepreneurial; this is translated in their levels of productivity in the field. The largest percentages of architects who register at architectural schools are men, further still the ones who are enrolled are men and finally its men who come out in larger numbers at the end of the courses. They go ahead and get jobs and licensing ahead of their female counterparts. In the architecture field, several composite forces work together. The capitals currency, management of the systems of the organization, decisions makings power struggle, design criticism authority, are male manipulated. In order to break the link of collusion existing between the biased mechanism and the power group, education reform system is very necessary.


    Utopia vision for a level playing-field for everyone in the field of architecture.

    Gender-based discrimination protection extends to all employment aspects which include pay, hiring and firing, employment conditions, pensions and promotions. The law specifically mandates that every sex gets equal pay for equal work, which the law defines as that work requiring the objectively similar effort, skill, or degree of responsibility.

    The title seven's board provisions against the discrimination on sex specifically cover the following:

    1. Sexual Harassment: This covers practices ranging from sexual favors, working conditions at the workplace-hostile environments based on gender including harassment of the same sex ( 'hostile environment' standards applies on the basis of national origin, race, religion, color, age and disability)
    2. Pregnancy-Based Discrimination: Pregnancy, childbirth and other pregnancy medical related issues must be considered just like other form of ailments.

    Both federal and state laws mandate that no differentiation should be created between male and female employee, and require:

    • Equal pay for equal work
    • Workplace equal treatment of everyone, the gay man, woman and the straight man.
    • The policies at the workplace should be uniform for everyone.
    • Male and female employee standard procedures in all of the employment phase's relationship.
    • Further segregating and subordinating practice when:

    • Advertisements for jobs ignore the women to apply for the vacancy
    • when the employer hires men with children but ignore hiring women with children
    • When benefit plans are extended to men employee's spouse but don't do the same to the female employees spouses.
    • Labeling other positions as men's domains, female employees are denied such posts.
    • The employer refusal to hire the woman, train, promote, assign jobs to the pregnant or married woman on gender basis
    • The employer drafts a separate compulsory retirement policy for the woman employee, males having higher retirement age than the female counterparts.
    • Sex discrimination, also called gender discrimination is covered by the 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, not forgetting the revised 1991 Civil Rights Acts. The 1963 Equal Pay Act has also made it illegal discriminating against women concerning salary or wages. The 1991Civil Rights Acts prohibits all aspects of discrimination in the employment process including assignment, compensation demotions, promotions, transfers, working conditions, wages testing, recruitment, fringe benefits, transfers, promotions, company facilities use, disability leave, discharge and hiring.

      Judith Butler works is very significant as she has critically argued that feminism had done wrong by asserting the point that 'women' were people having similar characteristics and interests- taking the place of one hegemony with another and building up oppositional epistemology which is actually binary. She noted that feminists had rejected the fact that biology is destiny, though later developed the patriarchal culture account that had the general assumption that feminine and masculine gender would be built inevitably, by culture, upon 'female' and 'male' bodies, making the very same inescapable destiny (Dana, A. 2002, p. 129). This kind of argument gives no space for choice, resistance or choice; instead the writer prefers "those anthropological and historical positions that have good understanding of gender as a relation existing among the socially constituted subjects in contexts that are specifiable". In other words, instead of being a fixed attribute in human beings, gender should be therefore be viewed as a fluid variable which changes and shifts in different contexts and also at varying times (Dana, A. 2002, p. 129).

      Many people 'love' gender trouble because of their liking of gender as improvisational theater, a choice space where different identities can be less or more freely explored and adopted at will. They wanted to continue with the job of enacting the gender, for the purpose of undermining the gender dominant forms. It is of significance to distinguish between performance and performativity in gender in a sensitive industry like architecture. First, I start with the Foucauldian premise that power operates partly through discourse and it operates in part to make subjects unstable (Dana, A. 2002, p. 129). On the other hand when we start to think of the performativity as discourse aspect, possessing the capacity to yield what it names. I move one more step, through Austin Derridean writing, and of the opinion that production takes place through some kind of recitation and repetition. Therefore if you need the ontology of this, I'd rather performativity be the discursive mode through which ontology effects are installed.

      The women status as described above is not a new notion, gender denaturalization existed already in Plato, John Stuart Mill gave a great deal o boost to it, he said that women subjection "nature of women is obviously an eminently artificial thing". Mill realized that 'women's nature' as regarded towards architecture and construction shore up and derived from hierarchies of power: womanliness is created to be "whatever would serve keeping women course in subjection, or, enslave their minds." As with feudalism with the family, the nature rhetoric serves the slavery cause by itself (Dana, A. 2002, p. 130).

      In a published work by Catherine and Andrea Dworkin in 1970s and 1980s, gender roles conventional understanding is a special way of understanding a progressive domination of the male in the architectural studies and practices and as well as other public spheres. These writers emphasized on the ways and means through which male dominated structures of power subordinated and marginalized not only women but also the individuals who would like to prefer a same-sex relationship. They clearly understood that lesbians and gays discrimination was a way of enforcing common hierarchically ordered roles of gender; they therefore saw lesbians and gays discrimination as a sexual discrimination form (Dana, A. 2002, p. 130-131).

      According to the 2004 report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor about the Women and Entrepreneurship the women's entrepreneurship is expanding globally. Businesses owned by the women range from and 1/3 of all the businesses in the formal economy and will most likely player a bigger role in the informal sectors. Women generations coming from varied backgrounds contribute positively to their environment and are showing a motivating sign of the entrepreneurship spirits (Arenius et al 2005 P.11)

      In the recent past, there have been a significant increase in the number of architectural female students in the universities, despite this the number of the practicing female architects have not risen in response to the level at which the enrollment at the universities are rising. This can be attributed to the harsh working conditions which are very unfavorable to the women in the field of architecture. For one to be an architect practitioner you have to undergo a very long process, first you need long time to sit for the examinations, which you must pass accordingly, after you successfully go through the examinations you one undergoes training under internship program, and starts building up his or her career. However the society does not give the necessary support to the woman at all, they does not care about the parental leave or even time for childcare among others. Due to this reason hundreds of women have dropped the career even though they may be having good foundation in education.

      The current statistics in some sections of U.S have revealed that for the people under the age limit of thirty, equal pay for equal amount of work have reached in the work place for the women, and other groups , though it have been in existence for sometimes now for the gay people. This is great because currently the discrimination at the workplace is evidently decreasing (

      Some of the choices made may make one earn little income in the field of income, the men, women or gay may make any of the following decisions which may impact positively or negatively o their income;

    • The choice to take leave out of job for sometime to be with or to take care of the family. The women are affected by this in most cases because they take off for some few years to raise their young siblings. The mothering experience directly affects the woman in keeping track of the job -climbing of the ladder.
    • The workaholic behavior, also the type-A, which in most cases is shown by the executives, the 'executives here can be any gender. Again, women do in most cases don't exhibit such characteristics or choices at the work place, only a few women are workaholics, a number of gays can be workaholics.
    • The choice to take on the physical jobs, this can be described as the gender work choice. The straight men never mind doing the masculine jobs unlike the gay men and the women.
    • Choice of careers. It is evident also that most women refer to jobs that are generally people helper and are low paid, they shy away from careers like MBAs employing the executives.
    • The women and gay men do charge less on their architectural practices in their private companies a compared to the men practitioners (

    The women, gay men, lesbians, African-Americans and other discriminated groups have generally over the past years been choosing the workplace occupations with very low unemployment rates like the artists, musicians, actors, secretaries among others. This is currently changing at a alarming rate for there are a number of women ad the gay people who are enrolling and graduating for the architectural schools and other male dominated fields like the engineering, medicine just to mention a few. This is good for they are doing a lot to change the statistics at the workplace than the fifty years of anti-discriminations programs by the government (

    Of course there is need for equal pay for equal job at the workplace, and yes, anyone who qualifies for a position at the workplace deserves to be considered equally as the other colleagues. To add to this, there are women who love the nonverbal physical jobs, like wise there are male who love the verbally oriented tasks. It which is very vital that our societies come to term with these independent choices and provide opportunities for them, though I tend to believe that the statistics in gender will forever be unequal, even when we consider a society where sexism does not exist. Work should purely be about passion, do what you love doing and what you do best.

    Most of women, if there is at all a non-sexist society, would gravitate towards being judges, administrators, architectures, engineers among other physical and executive positions. In such a community, the men I believe would move towards the physical and spatial jobs as is today.

    One of the current favorite topics is the unlikelihood of the woman and the gay man unlikelihood to attain some 'reserved' high level jobs. Of course the main cause of this is undoubtedly discrimination, maybe not. Historically for the Catholics and Jews, there was a similar glass ceiling only that in those days no one called it glass ceiling. Presently, Jews and Catholics are fairly represented. The only problem is that reaching at the top positions in the catholic system is not a very easy task for the faint hearted, this illustrates exactly what happens when the minority groups attempt to achieve in the men dominated fields like architecture, and basically it exceeds the idea of just overcoming discrimination.

    At the work place, one phenomenon is never out at any one time; job stress. The workplace stress can be caused by a number of issues, but the key idea is how we do away with the stress, ending up in easiness state. It is common to blame the job stress specifically on the outside people, for instance the boss, colleagues among others.

    Some of the reasons that can make any gender at the work place may include:

    1. Having some problems with those in authority.
    2. The work may become boring
    3. Fear of loss of high pay or health plan
    4. Dealing with toxic people or situations


    The dynamics, problems, and potential solutions for the woman who faces Discrimination in the world of architecture

    Outside Britain and the United States published books or works about women architects is scarce. The 14th anniversary of Architecta (Finnish Association of Women Architects) exhibition toured Finland in 1982 which led to 72 pages profiles, catalogue. There were 500 women architects out of the 1500 at that time in the country when Architecta was established in 1942; it was the only kind of women's association of architecture globally (Annmarie & Tancred 2000 p. 5)

    Architecture over centuries have been a male dominated profession, the prestigious and the big awards rarefy go to the women, for instance the Pritzker Architecture Prize and the women architects also never get headline grabbing commissions for instance the World Trading Center Buildings. So, where are the women?

    In the architecture world the women roles are always being overlooked. Despite this, several women have surpassed the challenges build very successful careers in architecture, and designed several land-marking buildings. Some of the women trailblazers include; Zaha Hadid, a Baghdad, was the first woman to have taken home the Pritzker Architecture Prize, she concentrated in all architectural fields ranging from furniture to urban products. Maya Lin, at the age of 21, made the Vietnam Memorial when still a student in Washington DC. She made several large minimalist monuments and sculptors. Marion Mahony Griffin was the first woman employee to Frank Lloyd Wright, she later became the first woman to get architect license in the world. Susana Torre is a feminist, she teaches other women, produces architectural writings and practices architecture, and all these have contributed a lot towards improving the status and minds of women towards architecture as a profession and business. Other women who matter in this field include Anna Keichline, Norman Merrick Sklarek, and Denise Scott Brown among others. (Jackie, C. 2009). In state of Victoria, the first woman architect was Florence Taylor, in 1902, her registration came late in 1922 (Annmarie & Tancred 2000 p. 5)

    A significant number of women work in three fields; secretarial work, teaching and nursing. 16.5 million Women counted for these positions in 1990, which translated to 31% of all the women in the employment. Clerical/ secretarial job is the one largest job group for American women. In 1991, more than one out of four employed women were in 'administrative support' sector, this includes clerical posts, the female represents more than 98%, men form only 2% of secretaries (U.S Department of Labor 1991 p. 163, 183). Apart from women concentration in occupations that primarily brings them in contact with each other, they are also in fields that limit their knowledge access (Rendell, J et al 2000 p. 118)

    The number of the women in the construction trade is dismally low; the implication of this is that the industry, individuals and obviously the community undergo some suffering because it only utilizes one sex. But the existing attitudes show explain that the it will not be easy effecting change through survey by the Building Careers Center which exhibits highly male makeup in the sector deters women who are afraid of discrimination, isolation and harassment in case they take architecture as their careers. This study illustrated that the young women who are on the stage of deciding their life time careers do fear the industry because it is so much dominated by the male, they believe that the industry perceive sexism, harassment and discrimination to be widespread. The survey showed that the young women think about their careers by the time they are 16 and the stereotyping, gender based, have made it uneasy for the young ladies to build their own career choices to diverge from the path of career their parents dictate. It is usually evident that the parents can promise to motivate their daughters to join architecture careers but instead end up encouraging their sons to do so; this is a good explanation to the few women who decide on architecture as their careers only after they are out of their parents' custody. Another reason could be fear of isolation because they may not meet other ladies in this field (www.construct.htm)

    To improve the retention and recruitment of the women in the architecture industry the BCC (Building Careers Center) has come up with several initiatives and Peter Tyles, the project Manager commented that these initiatives should take place soon. The BCC proposes to capitalize on the requirements of the syllabus for the students to take part in the work placement in the construction and building courses that are being offered now by the NSW secondary schools. This will create a big pool of talent for the architecture industry which already has received basic skills training and develop the appropriate attitude. The schools will pass on to the students the right information about the occupations available through arranging of site tours for career advisors and teachers. Improvement of enrollment quality for the university courses in construction economics and construction management will find a helping hand through opportunity creation for the students who are gifted academically. The BCC also proposes that through provision of practical industry experience to the children, primary students will get the exposure to career options earlier. Finally, it proposes that operating with other industry associations to make arrangements for work placements inside the housing sector-domestic, this will motivate the students more since they can easy identify with the domestic buildings as opposed to the industrial and the commercial ones.

    If you are a woman architect, you look around, how many female architects you see around you. It is clear that initially back in the classrooms there were handful of ladies classmates but today they have all gone. The probable question to ask is what caused their disappearance? The women in architecture fields are undergoing narrowing field just like other females in fields like medicine, law and business. Women join the architecture field when they enroll for their school studies, once they are through with their degrees; they live this field of their academia to take on other fields other than architecture (www.calling all women.html ). The NAAB (National Architectural Accrediting Board) reported data revealed that in 2009, 41% of architecture graduates programs are female. According to the AIA National Associates Committee Report published in 2004, only 20% of female architect U.S. is licensed. A study in 2003, AIA Women in Architecture, revealed that women represent 27% of the staff in architecture companies in U.S which includes licensed architects and gradates. This is same to the 2009 NAAB report, 26% of accredited schools female faculty of architecture. This finding when factored with the AIA independent study of 2005 revealed that 73% of the male graduates in architecture firms got licensed unlike 45% of graduates , this brings us to the conclusion that there is clearly disparity and discrimination existing between men and women who graduate from the schools and those who get the license.

    Anecdotally, looking at the women under-representation in the leadership positions, for instance firm principles and partners, AIA fellows, and the number of women elected in AIA for leadership positions, the redoing number of women who ever rich higher levels of their careers obviously seem apparent enough to guarantee further investigations.

    This kind of disparity exists all over the society, it would be prudent to ask, 'why the disparity?' The woman faces common and several challenges that severely confront them in disregard to their professions or lifestyles. They deal with both the professional and personal issues. This results to several complex issues that the women have to face at their workplaces.

    To remedy this kind of discrimination, we have to go back to the architecture schools, the Clemenson University statistics revealed that in the year 1988, 27% of all the applicants for Bachelor of Arts Degree in Architecture were female; of this percentage 31% women were enrolled. There is a recommendable increase today, 47% applicants in 2008 and 56% enrolled in the program. So, what exactly happens to all the women that disappear between female students enrollment to licensure?

    The answer to this question should be satisfactorily answered by the 2003 research conducted by the RIBA on "why do women leave architecture?" on trying to find out the best way forward in retaining women in the architectural practices. These are; women leave the career in architecture because of the low pay from the employer, inequality of payment, the employer discriminates women against the men by providing low wages to them as compared to their male counterparts (Graft et al 2003). Architecture is high demanding industry, it requires passion and time dedication, one have o work for very long hours, the women are challenged here because they need more time for their families, the working hours are family unfriendly and no flexibility in time. The women are allocated regular and same kind of work, this becomes boring over time, and this limits their scope of work. One of the most discouraging point that makes most women live the career is the glass ceiling, it is very difficult ?o get promotion in a male dominated field, they end up being frustrated fighting their way to the top, they end up dropping along the way. Architecture requires some energy; women are naturally feminine, and at times the working conditions get very stressful. Other reasons why women leave this career on the way includes macho culture, unavailability of returner training, dismissal and redundancy, the high costs of insurance and high risks of litigation, sexism and finally opportunities elsewhere (Graft et al 2003).

    Some of the probable recommendations to solve the problem of women leaving the industry along the way include:

    • Good dissemination of employment legislation
    • Returner training
    • A more flexible and affordable CPD
    • Good mentors and advisors/ the help line support
    • A highly diversified staff profile of the industry to the public eye.
    • Provision of more information about the architecture career
    • RIBA advisory practices notes for both the schools and architectural practices.
    • Practice of gender equality in both the school practicing architecture and curriculum
    • Provision of equal practices of opportunities in the professional organizations codes of practice.

    Women face a lot of difficulty in registration to get the licensing; they take several years before they get the license. This is partly contributed by the parenting issues and the long hours at work place, they have to set up their families and are faced with the challenge or pressure to keep up with all these two. This is evident in the failure of the women in the long run as the men progress in their careers in this field. One successful woman in the industry is reported to say that "looking back at over my career of 25 years plus I agree that it is very difficult staying in an industry where the outcome never match the effort you put in" (www.calling all women.html)

    According to Mark Clark, registration should not be compulsory for some architectural aspects, the architectural graduates can and actually have worked their way to the big positions in the private or public architectural firms. They can opt to be researchers, educators or volunteers of the professional juries and committees. Some graduates develop their projects which are in small scale in commercial and residential projects which are not the registered architect's sole domains under the provincial building codes Annmarie & Tancred 2000, p. 31)

    Occupational segregation in the architectural field is 'tantamount to gender spatial segregation' because the firm managers are overwhelmingly male and on the other hand clerical positions are held by women predominantly. This has led Rendell to classify the women jobs as 'open floor' in contrary to the men jobs 'closed door'. This implies that the women employees do their jobs in a more public environment having lower control over their space as compared to men. This spatial control lack in women contributes and reflects to the lower occupational status of women through limiting the opportunities which is the transfer of knowledge and skills to women from men (Rendell, J et al 2000 p. 98). This leaves no doubt in proving that there actually exists spatial segregation at the place of work especially in the construction firms.

    To address most of these problems, make available a support mechanism, and to motivate the women to gain entry in the industry, several organizations have been established over the years, such an architectural organization is NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction), and it was established in 1954 in United States. It was initiated with a base of 16 women, today they have increased to over 8000. The NAWIC members come from all the areas of architecture ranging from architects, sub-constructors, building surveyors, trades women developers, students and project managers among others (Nicola, T. 1997). The NAWIC's objectives are basically to bring the women together for their own mutual benefits and proper understanding, to motivate the women to take on careers in the male dominated field-architecture, to make the industry better, promote education and to teach the women on the legislative side of architecture. Paul Gerber-Jones, a senior administrator in NAWIC, says that the main aim today is attracting more and more women in the profession and keeping them, and to ensure that this is done effectively; NAWIC will make several educational videos to the schools and provide good offers in the field for the working experience for the students. He further says that "that over 50% of architecture studying students the loss rate is very high. A big percentage of women live on the way to start their own families just like in other careers, there is need to address the sense of isolation too" (Nicola, T. 1997).

    Te schools should also not be left out in all the operation to encourage the girls to develop interest in this industry. Senior education officer, Margaret Gambley, said that the NSW Department of School Education is putting enough effort to ensure that every young person becomes aware of several career options. Together with the general career education, the government has the attention on the girls specifically the Department of Training and Education coordination project named 'Tradeswomen on the move' (Nicola, T. 1997).


    There is no clear estimate of the global gay population, this attributed to the fact that most of the gay men prefer to keep their affairs a secret. They keep it for themselves and times they don't even tell their close relatives or friends about this. This partly has led to their silent suffering. The gay man just like the woman faces discrimination in the architecture industry, surprisingly. The gay man have characteristics just like other men, in this dissertation we analyze gay man who keeps his affairs secret yet the industry still discriminate him. The industry only favors the straight man, other gender struggle to gain their status. One would expect that since the gay man has all the characteristics of the straight man at the place of work, he would raise the ladder like the straight man and rise to the top positions, this is not the case. Most of senior posts in the industry, about 98% are straight men.

    The gay men face discrimination in varied ways just like the women counter parts; they are discriminated at the place of work, education sex among others. The Human Rights Act, Maine's anti discrimination law fight against such kinds of segregation. In the year 2005, Maine Legislature passed a law- LD (Legislative Document) 1196, an act which was meant to help in defending civil rights and the protection of everybody irrespective of sexual orientation." LD 1196 makes amendments to the Human Rights Act through extension of the discrimination law to include, sexual orientation which means "person's actual or perceived heterosexual, gender identity or homosexual or expression

    CPHV (Center for Prevention of Hate Violence) began its discrimination study in 2005; it was based on sexual orientation, shortly after the Governor John Baldacci signed the LD 1196 to become law. His study was to find out if the discrimination against the lesbians, transgender and gay really do occur? And if it does occur to what extents does the discrimination impact their lives. According to this report, these were the results:

    The study interviews were some disturbing degree of discrimination that targets the gay lesbians and the bisexuals. These included job loss, humiliation, loss of education opportunities, and degradation among others. One of the study participants (gay) claimed that he and his partner try to structure their lives to escape humiliation or discrimination at their places of work and other social places. The most common type of discrimination that the CPHV participants' experienced involved discrimination at workplace, employment, the results was as follows

    The participants claimed of having undergone harrowing experiences at the working place, the employers and fellow employees take advantage over them; they get humiliated through insults, reactions to these means firing or more humiliation. One of the gay participants who worked in an architectural firm claimed that his colleagues would make fun of him that he is a lady and should be doing some secretarial jobs, when this continued, he reported to the boss on several occasions but the boss took no action, in the end he ended up being fired for being gay. They are called funny and dirty names that are actually insults. Another participant went for an interview, he passed the test and the job was given to him. Later on he was having a conversation with his boss, and in the process he was made to disclose his status, the boss fired him (Stephen 2005).

    Harassment at school has been one major factor that impact directly on the number of gay architects. When the other students learn that you are gay , that is the point where trouble starts; violence threats, insults, and ultimately the student starts to think about suicide, leaving the school, poor performance, the list is endless.

    As we came to understand earlier in the dissertation, most of the architectural firm employers are straight men, and the firm has an image to carry around the clients, and since the straight people never listen to gay people, it would be very difficult for any architectural firm to intentionally employ a gay man. Besides that, architecture is solidly believed to be for men and not 'women'. Therefore a gay man may have all the education he needs, all the experience he needs but he will always face the glass ceiling. The 63 discrimination incidents highlighted in the CPHV research clearly indicates that the gay man undergoes discrimination at the work place whether he hides or he keeps it open (Stephen 2005). Almost half of these incidents occurred at the work place in several types of employments which range from the sales person to the architecture professionals. The report further gives solution to one more problem; what the impacts of the discrimination on the gay man, the answer are obviously disturbing (Stephen 2005). They lost their jobs; others are still in the struggle, they working in the harsh conditions, some of the gay men had their schooling affected on the way due to harassments and violence they face from the schools. This gives the reasons as to why many of the gay men does not continue along within their careers especially in the field of architecture where straight men dominate, they fear being discovered and as a result may suffer unnecessarily (Stephen 2005).

    But several of these Maine citizens lost other things. They lost their sense of sustainability and security and most importantly the sense of confidence that they could actually lead their lives without the usual degrading discrimination and humiliation in a wide range of activities. Sadly' the loss of sense of security and safety led some of the gay people to undergo serious debilitating depression, anxiety and physical ailment. Sexual orientation discrimination especially in the employment can be a serious problem; its impact is both destructive and deep.



    Extent to which the profession abides by the law to promote women equality in the profession

    Alarming evidence is available that some practices do not abide by the working hour honor, pay legislation and equal opportunities. The failure to abide by the law on line to such factors have led to the thriving of the poor working conditions and have also reduced the prospects of promotion of the women. The act of undermining the women have led to the reduction or loss of self esteem in the said women, all these leads to lack of confidence in women and hence reduction in personal capabilities. It is evident in the research that the practices in the industry do not fulfill the requirements of the law. It is to be established whether the mission is due to ignorance or some serious reasons. Failure to abide by the laws belies the view widely held that equal opportunities were met in the 1970s and 80s. It a major concern here that the whole architecture profession have not met the law requirements to warmly accept positive duty to improve equality and inclusion.

    Does the architecture profession culture be constant in a [paradigm that views women as inherently inferior in line to capability as architect and therefore in need of protection?

    A brief answer to this is yes. Again, evidence reveal that women, especially after they break their career are never viewed as equals. Their task is always compartmentalized or sidelined. They may be handled like individuals in need of protection or conversely may be disregarded or demeaned. It is actually very disappointing that some results from some architecture schools show that women treatment does not bear close scrutiny. The universities should be in the forefront in changing the culture and attitude of the profession to take care of diversity, this is not taking place.

    Is the architecture profession ready to accept the promotion of equality and properly equipped for the 21st C.

    The obvious answer to this question is obviously no. a serious mind shift is required within the profession. The architecture field has a negative public image and if it is stagnant and if there is a will to bring some changes to this, the good thing to do is to reflect the community better instead of looking arrogant unaware of social shifts and aloof. To summarize the reason for the woman departure from the field, accumulation of the several negative experiences at the places of work which results to disillusionment; frustration and eventually they leave one by one.

    Way Forward Suggestions

    Most of the recommendations listed here are on line to RIBA, architecture schools and the architectural practices; it is therefore pertinent to ask the following question.

    What should men and women in the architectural industry who wish to promote action for diversity and change be doing as the employer of few people or as the small individuals to assist with the change of culture?

    We consider that the person could help the organizational and cultural changes required by;

    1. Asking her or his employer for written employment contracts and equal opportunities policies in case these are not presently available.
    2. Become highly aware of the legal right and responsibilities for both the employee and the employer.
    3. Requesting for salary information from their bosses and asking for a clear way of approach salary increase policy and the promotions
    4. Supporting the architectures for change.
    5. Helping the women architects to publish their work where is possible.
    6. The men should be leading in motivating the women to take action, from this step.
    7. Organizing the quest lectures at the architectural schools

    We further suggest that all the practices of architecture both big and small should make use of the Ten Commandments for the produced equal opportunities provided by the EOTC (Equal Opportunity Taskforce Construction as general guide.

    1. Have a clear equal opportunities vision
    2. Set proper goals for equal opportunities
    3. Plan in long term to attain the equal opportunities
    4. Have a policy which his operated, understood and published.
    5. Have one board member in charge of the policy
    6. Set equal opportunities goals
    7. Represent all women at all areas and all levels
    8. Spot and remove barriers to women
    9. Monitor the women progress and their reasons for leaving
    10. Establish for the women mentoring system


    • Annmarie, A. & Tancred, P. (2000) Designing Women: gender and the architectural profession University of Toronto Press
    • Alexis, G. (2009) Calling All Women: Finding the Forgotten Architect, The blog of AIA's weekly publication for architects, retrieved from www.calling all women.html
    • Graft, J., Sandra, M. & Clara, G. (2003) Why do women leave architecture? University of the West of England, Bristol
    • Dana, A. (2002) Reading Architectural History: Architecture, Criticism, History, Individual Architect, Routldge Publishers
    • Jackie, C, (2009) Great Women Architects: Important women and the related professions, retrieved from
    • Karen, P. (2009) Chauvinism reconstructed; Making their mark on a male-dominated field, Sunday Herald, The Newspaper retrieved from
    • Nicola, T. Women in Construction, retrieved from www.mandominatedfield/chauvinismreconstructed/, issue 43 contents
    • Rendell, J., Barbara, P. & Borden L. (2000) Gender Space Architecture: an interdisciplinary introduction, Routledge Publisher
    • Stephen, W. (2005) Discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals in Maine, retrieved from
    • Gender Discrimination in the Workplace, retrieved from

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