There’s been a strong jump in the number of female architects, but the gender pay gap persists in the profession, along with a pattern of attrition that’s seeing women dropping out of the sector with age.
That’s according to a new report by Parlour, an advocacy group for equity in architecture, exploring Census data to present a snapshot of the profession.
Women made up 25% of all ‘registered’ architects in 2016, according to the report, compared with 21% in 2011. Women then make up 31% of the total architecture population, up from 28% in 2011. The number of female admissions to register as architects has increased to 40%, from 34% in 2011.
The increasing participation numbers are a positive sign for the profession that’s long been male-dominated, but hurdles continue to stand in the way of equity.
For one, women in architecture face a hefty pay gap that starts early in their careers. Men aged 25 to 29 employed as architects are earning 5.2% more than their female counterparts, with the gap rising to 7% for those aged 30 to 34 and to its highest of 15.5% for those aged 50 to 54.
The report authors note the pay gap in those younger years as particularly concerning, given its the cohort that has a near equal number of women and men, and where similar levels of experience can be assumed. It’s also often the period before career breaks (such as for parental leave) may occur, the bulk of which is still taken by women.
Meanwhile, women are more likely to be employees than employers or practice owners in firms, are more likely to work part-time as architects, and more likely to leave the profession with age, when compared to men.
This report from Parlour follows their first snapshot of women in the profession published in 2012.
“It is heartening to see that more women are staying in architecture, and are slowly developing their presence as employers and business owners,” write the report authors, led by Gill Matthewson from Monash University.
“The sharp increase in women becoming registered architects is also cause for optimism. This suggests that many women are taking matters into their own hands regarding their presence in the profession.
“However, this good news is accompanied by persistent indicators that many women still experience gender-based bias and discrimination. This must be addressed collectively by the profession and practices to enable all architects to reach their potential and ensure that the profession benefits.
You can read the full report here.
Photo above: Gill Matthewson presentingGi the pay gap data. Photo: Peter Bennetts.