“YES!”

 

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Ok, here goes. This is my first official blog, to no one in particular! No followers, no Facebook likes and so far, written under a pseudonym, this is so that I can be honest and open without too much fear of professional repercussion (family members and a few friends will recognise the nickname should they stumble across the site).

I guess I should start by saying that I am not particularly up to date with the blogging world, I am no good with grammar, I am dyslexic and am sometimes hot-headed, I have no idea how best to use Instagram or Twitter and I am not sure that I intend to fully find out.

But here I am, almost 7 years post qualifying as an Architect and 6 months after returning to work following maternity leave, thinking that it might be interesting to write things down.

The aim?!

I suppose is to shed light on the world of a working Architect/mum but more importantly to provide some sort of support to those that are looking for it.

For anyone going through what I once dubbed ‘Architorture’ (aka an architectural degree or postgrad), to inspire any budding or practicing female Architects not to quit (even though there are plenty of reasons to do so), to encourage all working mothers when they have had no sleep and wonder why they don’t just call it a day (I ask myself every week why I am putting myself through it) and to raise awareness of the problems within the construction world for the women that work in it.

Here’s a quick fun fact for you: In a 2013 survey by the Architect’s Journal, 63% of women answered “YES” to the question “Have you ever suffered sexual discrimination in your career”. In the same survey, 74% of men and 89% of women answered “YES” to the question “Do you think having children puts women at a disadvantage in Architecture”.

University statistics show year in year out that the rate of female students slowly declines from part 1 to part 2 and from part 2 to part 3 and in the ARB annual report of 2016, it stated that of all qualified UK Architects only 27% were women and this was considered an improvement!

Time and time again industry surveys find that the main reasons for female Architects leaving the profession are to move away from sexism or bullying. Unequal pay, unbreakable glass ceilings and inflexible and long work hours are other common factors.

This is not to say that being an Architect is a struggle day by day, there must be a reason I am still practicing 7 years and one child on. However there has been many a time when I have been near to walking away from my career, I have even had a two year pause in ‘architecting’ to concentrate on building conservation instead and during these moments, I have found limited support online or in person and this is something I would like to address.

I will be doing this, to start with, purely by writing my own experiences so that others can read and feel happy in the knowledge that they are not alone.

I have already stated that I am not very computer savvy (crazy for an architect I know). So, I apologise if there are resources already available but, I have not found them and so I am sure many others haven’t found them either.

Here is where I am going to have my first dig:

RIBA what am I paying for?

I can honestly say that I still have very little understanding of what I am getting out of being a member of the RIBA, apart from the ‘street cred’ that comes with being in an old mysterious club and the pretty magazine that I get sent.

I acknowledge that the general public knows the name and look for the name when searching for Architects, in fact, most people haven’t heard of the ARB which is the actual governing body for British Architects.

I know also that they oversee certain university courses, in order to standardise the level of training for Architects.

But really?! For the extortionate fee to join this club there is very little actual benefit to the individual for being a member and I certainly haven’t found one piece of useful advice for surviving or advancing my career from them.

I recognise that, should I wish to spend more money, I could go along to one of their seminars. But honestly, if you want advice or support in real-time their website is about as helpful and as easy to navigate as a chocolate teapot and how many working mothers do you know that can just pop along to a seminar that takes their fancy?!

If only they would use their influence to further address the problems women face in the profession and provide assistance to all Architects for the duration of their working lives, then might they be useful to the professional body that they claim to serve.

For further information on the statistics mentioned above go to:

https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/

http://2017.arb.org.uk/

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