Is a Lack of Female Architects Harming Britain's Cities?

With women making up only 21 percent of the Britain's registered architects, a percentage far lower than other professions, "insidious" discrimination is common in the field, writes Andrew Hough. Is this harming the nation's built environment?

"Urban areas could become safer and better laid out if more women helped in the way they were designed, it is claimed," writes Hough. "Leading female figures in the industry warned that high streets, schools and open spaces were potentially suffering from differing perspectives because of the limited 'gene pool' of senior male architects."

While his tone might be slightly patronizing (what exactly would a "prettier" city look like?), the arguments raised by Hough are worth discussing.

A recent survey conducted by The Architects' Journal found that "two in three women architects have suffered 'insidious' discrimination or bullying by men during their careers," and are at the losing end of “significant pay discrepancies."

"Last year's emerging woman architect of the year award winner Hannah Lawson, 37, from Hackney, east London, said the lack of female architects was potentially harming the way British cities were designed."

“'It is clear to me that the dropout rate of women in architecture is detrimental not only to the profession but to our towns and cities,' said the mother-of-two, a director of leading firm John McAslan and Partners. '[Cities] will only be richer with the contribution of a more pluralist and diverse mix of designers.'”

Full Story: For safer, prettier cities pick a woman to build them

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