Following the death of Zaha Hadid in March 2016, the New York Times newspaper, in an informal online questionnaire, asked female architects among its readers to talk candidly about their experiences in the profession: the progress they’ve made and the obstacles they still face on construction sites and in client meetings.
The survey unsurprisingly revealed that female architects “… strongly believe that there is no gender equity in the industry”.
While many industries are shining a spotlight on the issue and taking steps to address the imbalance, it will take time to change perceptions and attitudes, especially in a country like ours – India. While the issue is a complex one, it is important to note that change needs to come from within. Women architects must start to take themselves more seriously, and in doing so men will change their attitudes too.
“I used to not like being called a “woman architect”: I’m an architect, not just a woman architect. Guys used to tap me on the head and say: “you’re okay for a girl.” But I see the incredible amount of need from other women for reassurance that it could be done, so I don’t mind that at all.” said Zaha Hadid.
Women must lose their fear f working with men. They must question, debate and instruct, or take instructions in an equal manner. And men must respect women and their judgement. The equal man will respect, others will fall in line eventually.
For all budding architects in need of a dose of inspiration, here is an architect celebrating brilliant colleagues and their achievements and contribution to our vibrant industry.