I qualified four years ago as an Architect and set up ZMA with my business partner, Paul Beneduce, two years ago. It was a 9-year process to get qualified, with 5 years at University.
When I started at University with my blonde hair and Burnley accent I didn’t get taken seriously. There was initially an even spread of 50% females with a large dropout rate possibly due to the large workload or not being quite what was expected.
There were many all-nighters and friends and family used to always say ‘it’ll be worth it in the end’ which I have to say it definitely is.
Lack of representation in the architectural industry
Only 26% of qualified architects are women and 90% of senior positions in larger firms are men. It’s about time that these shocking statistics improve.
When we turn up to jobs or meet people – they always say, “I always thought architects were middle aged men!” My clients all like the fact we are different from the stereotypical ‘architect’. We are a young, driven and creative practice, and our clients that have worked with architects in the past, say we provide an amazing service.
Men are not any better at design and management than women. Women are very good negotiators and listen well to clients to develop the brief to provide the best architectural solution. Men and women working together and sharing their skills can make the best architecture.
With regards to the hot topic of the ‘Gender pay gap’ – this needs to become irrelevant nowadays – it should be based on how good you are at your job not age or gender.
For women starting any career, our advice would be do what you are passionate about regardless of the stereotype that is associated with it. The architectural world is opening to change and the realization that, by embracing women, we can create amazing environments to live in.