Australia’s landscape architecture profession is making significant progress in attracting and retaining women, an analysis of Census data has found.

Released by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, the Census Report 2001-2016 Women in Landscape Architecture analysis found that the number of women who listed ‘landscape architecture’ as their profession almost doubled from 726 in the 2001 Census to 1,414 in the 2016 Census.

Because of this, women in 2016 made up almost half (47 percent) of Australia’s landscape architecture workforce – up from 42 percent in 2001.

The study also found that women remain within the same profession at the same rate as men.

This indicates that women are not necessarily being forced out of the profession as they have children.

Such a finding contrasts with the overall situation for women in architecture as a whole, which the report says suffers a significant drop in female participation as women age.

But the survey also found that a gender pay gap of 10 percent exists between the average earnings of men who work full-time in landscape architecture and those of their full-time female counterparts.

Whilst the gap in landscape architecture is lower compared with that across the broader architecture profession (19 percent) and Australian industry as a whole (14.6 percen), it demonstrates that female landscape architects remain at an earnings disadvantage compared with their male counterparts.

The gap was is particularly high in the age bracket of 45 to 49-year-oolds (29 percent), 50 to 54-year-olds (21 percent) and 55 to 59-year-olds 15 percent.

In other findings, the report indicated that:

  • More than half of all female landscape architects over the age of 35 work part time.
  • Women own 53 percent of unincorporated landscape architecture businesses but only 30 percent of incorporated landscape architecture companies.
  • Women make up 49 percent of all landscape architecture employees.
  • All up, 505 women own landscape architecture businesses whereas 887 are employees.

Study author Dr Gill Matthewson says the findings are welcome.

“One of the key finds is that women are well-represented in raw numbers, and participation has grown over the course of the twenty-first century,” Matthewson said.

“The Report also highlights how women’s patterns of work change significantly over the course of their careers. The most notable pattern is the high numbers of women moving into part-time work as they age, suggesting the profession supports a wide variety of engagement.”

“There is also no discernible gender pay gap at the junior end of the profession.”

Nevertheless, Matthews says the aforementioned pay gap along with discrepancies between men and women in the type of ownership models employed highlighted ongoing challenges.

The study forms part of a Gender Equity Project launched by AILA to investigate the participation of women in landscape architecture and develop strategies to address gender inequity in the profession.