Newsletter | Mar/Apr 2004

RIBA: Why do women leave architecture?

3 July 2003

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the results of its research into the drop-out rate of women from architectural practice. This is the first research of its kind to have been completed. Carried out by the here.

The survey of 170 women revealed that the gradual erosion of confidence and de-skilling caused by the lack of creative opportunities for female architects, sidelining, limited investment in training, job insecurity and low pay, led to reduced self esteem and poor job satisfaction in architectural practice.

The research found that women's career paths slowed after childbirth and that inflexible working arrangements, including long hours and a lack of transparency in relation to pay and promotion, were the main reasons cited for women with children leaving the profession.

The research concluded that women's decisions to leave the profession were not linked to academic or practical ability or to poor career choice.

The report also stresses that many of these factors would apply equally to men leaving the profession. Currently, women comprise just 11% of RIBA chartered architects. The number of women entering architecture courses has risen from 27% in 1990/1 to 38% in 2002/3. Following the findings in the research report, the RIBA will be making recommendations to its members, producing online guidance on employment law and will be highlighting best practice flexible working to employers.

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