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What are the hardships of a women becoming an architect?

I’m a sophomore looking at possible career choices, but I want to know all the possible hardships I could face and what might happen if I were to join architecture.

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Cristina’s Answer

In my experience the number of men and women that start out in architecture is equal, but the number of women drop off as you advance in your career with less women in charge or running the firm. This is slowly changing but not fast enough. Architecture is an old dinosaur industry - slow to progress. Multiple reasons for the drop off - the time demands are not desirable, women leave the workforce when they have children and don't always return after, and respect is not always there for women from upper (older) management in various subtle ways. This last point is hard to articulate but it's there and it's not pleasant to deal with on a daily basis. It is still a male heavy industry, especially on the construction side. On the flip side, interior design has a lot more women.

My advice - as a woman in architecture for over 14 years now - get your internship hours, pass your exams, get licensed. Becoming a registered architect will prove yourself on a base level. Thicken your skin and don't be afraid to speak up for yourself. Ask questions, learn learn learn because as a woman people will try to doubt your knowledge. Join your local women in architecture group and find a mentor.
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Alice’s Answer

There are many challenges a woman has to face if she wants to become architect. The possible challenges are 1. Being straight in communication with various stakeholder 2. Glass Ceiling 3. Not familiar with mechanical or engineering stuff 4. Working with contractor who seldom communicate.


There are challenges in all job, however what makes an individual to do well as architect is individual's interest level. Do not let what people said to you affects your passion in becoming an architect.

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Nicolle’s Answer

Hi Ashley! This is a great question, one that I have asked myself at different points in my career. I recommend you read the interviews Julia Gamolina does in Madame Architect. She interviews women at different points with different backgrounds and with different tendencies in such a wide field. I hope this helps!
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francisco’s Answer

Ashley,


I’m going to recommend that you rephrase your question to, “What hardships can I take on to become a better architect?”


I think that most women I’ve worked with are tougher, more emotionally intelligent and generally know how to bring a team together because they dared to trade punches with the good ole boys and adjusted the rules and culture a bit.


So, yes, immerse yourself early with the dudes, (best at construction sites) join the conversation and listen and learn. Eventually, you will hear the same old stuff, and that’s when you come in with, “Have you considered this approach?”

Your voice will after some time be more noticed and heard. And you will know you are in the right place when you start talking and people listen.


Consider it a challenger or your duty to change the current studio culture which by the time you are an architect may be less of an issue. Also, try to get a mentor (male or female architect) to help you learn faster. And, at least initially, work harder than your colleagues until you are at the top, and finally make sure to mentor other women, minorities and those who remind you of you.

francisco recommends the following next steps:

Consider reframing your question/s to a "What Can I Do?" perspective to see if you can view your concerns more objectively. But if you are thinking of a hardship or if you have doubts or if you think there could be circumstances that you anticipate, try talking to / working with a seasoned architect who can give you feedback, good direction and honest answers.
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Bill’s Answer

Ashley,

Today, I do not believe there are significant hardships for a woman to be a successful Architect. My grandmother was not allowed into Architecture School in the 1920's however the profession has evolved tremendously since that time. I would pursue your passion and if not given the opportunity to grow within the profession, then start your own practice and prove all others wrong!

Best of luck in your future pursuits.

Bill
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