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The first International Symposium on Research in Architecture and Gender entitled “Redefining the profession” that will take place the 27th and 28th of March in Seville, Spain, invites masters or doctoral students, professionals, academics and educators to contribute with new ideas and reflections on a professional practice of architecture with greater equity in terms of gender.
In the last ten years the number of women graduated in architecture has significantly exceeded that of men. Nevertheless the practice of architecture is still under a paternalistic influence globally considering women architects as hierarchically inferior avoiding them to held senior positions. The low number of women architects in decision-making positions and running offices is the evidence of an unequal professional situation that has not been addressed properly.
Similarly to other professions, in architecture there is a “glass ceiling” effect. Women architects do not occupy a significant number of decision-making positions in any field of the practice, be it public or private. Professional Institutions, Foundations and Architecture Schools have a tiny female presence in their management teams. Therefore the decision-making process has always been directed towards purely masculine interests affecting directly to women architects in two ways.
On the one hand, the profession is under a process of “masculinisation” by keeping working patterns, theoretical discourses and professional practices distant from women architects’ way of working and needs. Questions exclusively concerning them, such as the combination of personal and professional life, maternity support, the difference in the professional salary or exercise their profession without gender restrictions, have not been questioned.
On the other hand, women architects’ careers, their contribution to the discipline or built work are hardly recognized. Therefore there is no model for new generations of women architects who resignedly continue copying existing archetypes. Regional, national or international prestigious awards have hardly highlighted the work of many female professional architects creating a sense of frustration and failure. As a result of this lack of institutional and professional representation, new generations of women architects’ aims of having their own career detached from male paternalism present in architecture are limited.
Although there has been a struggle to defend the image of the architect through various forums with modest results, the current crisis in Europe threatens this search with the danger of being completely forgotten. Therefore it is important to continue advocating this fight from the academia, as in other disciplines, and to seek concrete improvement and maintain equity in the profession. This symposium aims to support these initiatives and create a network of support and professional help to improve their employment status through a search for new ideas and dissemination of the work of those professionals who have been able to develop their career.
Submission of papers deadlines is the 21st of February 2014, for more details go to Guidelines section in the website
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