Blog %

There has been much discussion raised about "Why are women leaving Architecture? and more broadly, Why is the profession losing key talent?"  Both women and men practitioners are disillusioned by the myth of work/life balance: Women are grappling with "have it all" expectations of juggling family time with the demands of full-time work.  Men are struggling to support their families solely on an architect's salary and fall back on asking spouses to maintain their jobs. The lack of affordable childcare and high cost of living only magnifies the challenges.  How did we end up in this modern family dilemma? What can we do to improve the situation?

EQxD on KQED Forum

On the heels of TEDxPhiladelphia last week, I was contacted by Irene Noguchi, the producer of KQED Forum to share the work that we have been doing the past 2 years with a larger audience. On Friday, June 19th, I visited the KQED Forum Studio to chat with guest host Aarti Shahani, Tech Reporter for NPR. We had an interactive session, including questions and comments from KQED's wide audience of listeners in the Bay Area and beyond. In addition to talking about the formation of Equity by Design, we discussed some of the key statistics and touched upon examples of initiatives that we are working on to take more bites out of the proverbial whale.

During the call in portion of the program, someone who called in questioned the American Institute of Architects position on supporting women in architecture. Although the past record of support has been a topic of discussion, our current and future actions in partnership with the Institute is very promising. We look forward to mutually tackling the challenges of achieving equitable practice and supporting architects to remain in the profession. There is a lot of work ahead with getting resolution 15-1 implemented and we need more people at the table. Please consider taking action and getting involved to secure a brighter future for those underrepresented in our profession. There are many ways to do this and we look forward to generating more ideas in the future.

Another architect wrote about her experience as a mother of two young children feeling pressure from the firm where she worked about the inadequacy of her reduced hours. It felt very real to the challenges I faced at the same point in my professional and personal life. I also shared Pamela Tang's inspiring story of returning to architecture after a long hiatus to raise her 4 children.  

Another question asked about the role of architects in creating more accessible spaces as more people encounter physical challenges or disabilities. I mentioned the work of Chris Downey, an architect in the Bay Area who became blind during his career. He continues to practice today providing design services with alternative tools that allow him to continue his work and serve the sight- impaired community. AIA National shared Chris' story at the convention in Atlanta and you can watch it via this link.

Special thanks to the Equity by Design committee (with great appreciation for Co-chair Lilian Asperin-Clyman and head of research Annelise Pitts), AIA San Francisco, our Equity Alliance champions, our sponsors and supporters for the survey and our current outreach. We look forward to sharing more exciting programs and outreach for the coming year!