While pretty much every field has its gender pipeline problem–women essentially leaking out somewhere between “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and top leadership positions–architecture may be among the worst.
As my own partner wrote in Christian Science Monitor awhile back:
While demographic statistics for architects are hardly even kept by the profession, an estimated 10-12 percent of the 105,000 registered architects in the United States are women. It’s generally accepted that the participation of women peaks in architecture school at approximately 40 percent. Once they’ve graduated, only a quarter of those women complete the internship and exam phases, required to become a registered architect or even legally call oneself an “architect.
It’s not easy to figure out how to enact the necessary reforms to make sure that women have a better chance of navigating through the structural shit show that is licensure, much less deal with the cultural sexism so pervasive in the field. But there is one brave action being taken right now and I’d love to see the Feministing community support it.
One of the most important honors in architecture is called the Pritzker Architecture Prize. In 1991, a man named Robert Venturi won. Turns out he should have shared the prize with his wife, Denise Scott Brown (pictured above) whose contributions were seminal to Robert’s work and widely regarded. Women in Design is demanding that Denise Scott Brown be retroactively acknowledged for her work deserving of a joint Pritzker Prize. They write:
Brown had been a co-partner for over 22 years in their practice Venturi Scott Brown and Associates and played a critical role in the evolution of architectural theory and design alongside Venturi for over 30 years. She co-authored the 1977 book Learning from Las Vegas, among others.
However, her role as “wife” seemed to have trumped her role as an equal partner when the Pritzker jury chose to only honor her husband, Venturi.
Go express your support and sign the petition here.