Results of the fifth annual Women in Architecture survey, providing insights into the experiences of over 1,000 women worldwide.
One out of five women responding to the survey said that they would not encourage a woman to start a career in architecture, and a similar proportion said they were unsure—only six out of ten overall would recommend an architectural career to another woman.
In the UK, where the majority of the respondents are based, the figure is worse, with a quarter of the women surveyed saying that they would not recommend their career to another woman, a proportion that grows with age. “While almost 80% of women in their early twenties would recommend their career choice, among those in their late thirties this proportion has fallen to just 44%, and a third state that they would not recommend a career in architecture.”
A contributing factor to this attitude seems to be inequalities and perceived inequalities in pay between men and women. Nearly 40% of women in the UK, and over 40% of those asked elsewhere responded that they thought that they would be paid more if they were a man.
“At senior levels the data survey reveals significant discrepancies among salaries. Survey entries show that £38,500 is the median salary among experienced women practicing architects who are working full time; whilst that for men is £45,500. That’s a £7,000 or 18% difference. At director, partner and principal level, the difference proved bigger still. Among women working full time in these roles, their median salary was reported to be £62,500 while among men their self-reported median salary was £82,000, a £19,500 or 31% premium. This pay gap at the top level compares to a difference between salaries for male and female directors and partners of around £13,000 in 2014 and 2015.”
Dissatisfaction among women, however, is lower in practices in which women form a significant share of the management team, as well as in practices which have regular “career development reviews” or mentoring schemes.
The survey additionally found “widespread support for greater salary transparency from women and men, with 69% of all survey participants asking for partial transparency, a suggestion which has been put forward to tackle pay inequality.”
Further analyzed in the survey was the issue of sexual discrimination, harassment, bullying, and victimization in the profession. 72% of women worldwide said that they have experienced sexual discrimination, harassment, or victimization during their career in architecture, and more than one in ten (12%) said that they experience sexual discrimination on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis.
Another major topic explored was the balance of work life and children. 83% of women worldwide agreed that having children puts women at a disadvantage in architecture, which may explain why the survey revealed a high proportion of women in architecture do not have children, with 75% reporting to be childless.