Newsletter | Nov/Dec 2014Volume 42:6 | Search
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Reflections on the Third Missing 32% Symposium – Equity by Designby Pamela Tang | Print | Email
The energy was palpable. Participants from around the city, the state and the country were arriving, eager to understand the results of one of the largest grassroots surveys in the profession and participate in an overdue conversation with like-minded peers on how to define a more equitable future for architects. Leaders in our professional organizations -- AIA, NCARB, NCSA – were there to listen and engage.
What started as a need to understand the attritional forces that were diminishing the number of potential female architects grew to encompass a broader base of issues integral to fostering a sustainable professional ethos that would benefit all architects.
The Missing 32% Project (TM32PP) started with the simple question, “Why do women account for only 18% of licensed architects in the country when they represent 50% of the architecture school graduating class?” The first Missing 32% Symposium in 2012 discussed the role of women in architecture in the 21st century through learning about different career paths in the profession. The second Missing 32% Symposium in 2013 explored work/life balance, firm culture, communication and negotiation skills, and approaches to leadership. Denise Scott Brown skyped with the audience and received a standing ovation recognizing her lifelong contributions to architecture.
To initiate change within the profession, AIASF called upon firms to support the 50/50 initiative—an initiative that would increase the overall representation and participation of women on architectural award juries, Boards of Directors, and speaker line-ups for AIA events.
As one of the Missing 32% on-ramping back into architecture and licensure after an extended leave to take care of my family, I consider October 18, 2014 an historic milestone for the profession.
Technology is facilitating our ability to disseminate information and coalesce support. The change we want to improve the quality of professional life for women in architecture can happen. We are gaining the critical mass as women of all ages and in different stages of their careers are engaged in the conversation. It is finally really about us.
Feminism and Architecture: Where To Next?by Jean Nilsson, Ed. and Wendy Bertrand | Print | Email
Last issue, we reviewed Feminism and Architecture: Intergenerational Conversations, the keynote address that Susana Torre, architect, feminist, critic, and educator, gave March 18, 2014 at The Architectural League NY and Parsons The New School for Design.
February 11, 2015, the OWA Book Circle along with members of the AIASF Missing 32% project committee invite you to a round-table discussion with excerpts of the video of Torre's address that is available on The Architectural League of New York's website. We ask you to view the video beforehand because it is so full of ideas, or you can read the lecture, which is published on Parlour's website in three parts: Feminism in Architecture, Tokenism, and Where to Next?
Torre reflects on the influence that feminism has had on the architecture profession, discusses six significant ways that feminist ideas have contributed to changing architecture and planning (see article in our last issue) and outlines her ideas on how to move forward. What are new agendas for feminism and architecture?
"Today, when we talk about 'women in architecture' we usually focus not on discourse, but on the unfulfilled agendas of salary parity and equal access to opportunities for retention or promotion, or on the difficulty of reconciling the demands of a very exacting profession with those (no less time-consuming) of child-rearing and the production of domestic life, as most women still bear the greater responsibility for both."
Torre gives several suggestions: She reminds us that "the creation of discourse is fundamental for changing a discipline." She urges institutions such as AIA to "lead in the effort to retain and promote the advancement of women in the profession" (as the AIASF Missing 32% committee has done, article above). She urges scholars to continue "redefining the criteria for inscribing the work of women into history, challenging the criteria approved by the male critical establishment" (as OWA members Inge Horton and Sandhya Sood do; see articles below). Torre mentions ArchiteXX.org, a group in New York, but doesn’t say what we in a group like OWA might do. When OWA Book Circle member Inge Horton wrote to Susana Torre about our group's interest in her lecture, she responded right away that she would be interested in continuing a discourse on this important part of architecture with us.
The Book Circle plans to start 2015 by actively viewing and discussing Torre's talk, adding further readings and discussions that engage the issues Torre has raised and pick up on those explored at two recent symposiums, both organized and chaired by OWA members, Gender Matters Symposium honoring OWA's 40th Anniversary, April 2013, Mui Ho, Chair, and the recent Missing 32% / Equity by Design Symposium, Rosa Sheng, Chair.
If you are interested in the interface of Feminism and Architecture, or wonder what this discussion is all about or why it still matters, please join us at our February 11 Book Circle in San Francisco at MK Think, 1500 Sansome St, open to members and friends. Jot down your thoughts as you view the video before February 11 to assure a lively discussion. You may contact Wendy Bertrand of the OWA Book Circle to propose ideas or format for discussion or to get more information. Specific event information will be posted on the OWA and AIASF / 32% websites. Hope to see you February 11, 2015.
Early Women Architects Daring to Design Modernby Inge Horton | Print | Email
Remembering Teresa Sevillaby Mui Ho | Print | Email
Report on Our 2014 Annual Business Meetingby Allison Kinst | Print | Email
The annual business meeting of the Organization of Women Architects and Design Professionals was held on October 21st at Preservation Park in Oakland. We conducted our annual business at the meeting including hearing some updates from our Book Circle and "Pod" groups, passing the budget for 2015 and electing our new Steering Committee members.
Our newly elected Steering Committee members for 2015-2016 are Gloria Kim Woo (Public Relations Coordinator), Sharon Chio (Membership Coordinator) and Naomi Horowitz (Information Coordinator).
Attendance at the business meeting was lower than usual this year but we still had a productive evening full of interesting and lively discussions. There were a lot of good ideas mentioned for possible meeting topics for 2015, and one theme that kept coming up was holding joint meetings or events with other groups such as the AIA, the National Organization of Minority Architects, or Architects/Designers/ Planners for Social Responsibility. Other ideas for 2015 events included;
- Alternative ways to approach architecture, especially focusing on what women have to contribute to make architecture a voice in shaping the future of the built environment.
- Members perspectives on how to handle new or challenging professional situations
- more social/informal events
A key issue that was on everyone’s mind is membership. Over the last year we have seen a decrease in our membership. The Steering Committee has been talking about this trend and we are in the process of identifying the possible causes and implementing solutions. We received a lot of valuable input from our members at the business meeting and heard some excellent ideas about ways to address this issue.
The annual business meeting is a very important part of our organization as it gives members the opportunity to discuss and debate the direction and activities of the Organization of Women Architects and Design Professionals. As a member of the Steering Committee, it is always helpful to hear from our members as we try to make decisions on behalf of the membership. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any other Steering Committee member if your have any ideas or feedback you would like to contribute. You can contact us individually or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you to everyone who attended and I hope to see you all again next year at the 2015 meeting.
Policies and Procedures Coordinator
OWADP Steering Committee
Lesser Known Resources on the OWA Websiteby Naomi Horowitz | Print | Email
You may know that the newsletter is available on the website, and that you can look up upcoming events, but did you know that members can:
- Start or join a discussion on any topic of interest on the Forum page? owa-usa.org/forum
- List job openings on the Forum?
- Create a portfolio of your work, including a link to your own website?
- Create a journal, including images, and set your preferred level of privacy?
Both the portfolio and journal features can be found by going to your profile page and looking under the appropriate heading. Remember, you need to be logged in to access the members-only portions of the web site. If you have any suggestions for improvements to existing features, or new features that would be helpful, please share them by emailing email@example.com.
Building Health Forum Nov 11, USGBC-Northern CA Chapterby Jean Nilsson, Ed. | Print | Email
Berkeley Mayor Honors Architect Sandhya Soodby Jean Nilsson, Ed. | Print | Email
Sarah Moos Finalist in Curbed Young Guns Community Builders Competitionby Jean Nilsson, Ed. | Print | Email
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