Newsletter | Nov/Dec 2016

After the Election, A Conversation

by Naomi Horowitz, with input from the Steering Committee

Many of you are probably familiar with the controversy around the post-election statement released by Robert Ivy, CEO of the American Institute of Architects. There was outrage not only about the tone and content of the statement, but also about the lack of an inclusive process. Many felt that the national organization was not in touch with its members. If you’d like more information about this, we recommend the review by the AIA San Francisco chapter, which you can read here.

This newsletter is aimed primarily at our members, and not likely read by those in power. We are also limited, like other 501(c )3 organizations, in what we can say on partisan political matters. So rather than making a statement on behalf of our members, we would rather engage you in a conversation. This is your OWA+DP. Are there positions or actions that we should take collectively? Are there ways we can better support each other?

One place to start may be to revisit our mission statement. It currently reads as follows:

The Organization of Women Architects and Design Professionals supports and promotes women in design-related field in all phases of their professional lives. We seek to:
• Improve the professional standing of women in architecture and design-related fields.
• Promote networking opportunities among our members and related professional groups.
• Provide support for women entrepreneurs and business owners in the design industry.
• Advocate young women and students entering design-related fields through mentoring, education, and employment opportunities.
• Support women in creating a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives.

Is there interest in revising or expanding on this statement? Here are a few options:
1. We could be more explicit about our inclusiveness: “The OWA+DP supports and advocates for all women in the design professions, regardless of religion, immigration status, or gender assigned at birth.”
2. We could commit to resisting attempts to lower the status of women: “The OWA+DP is committed to standing together against words and actions by elected or appointed government officials that discriminate against or disrespect women.”
3. We could also focus attention more generally on amplifying women’s voices: “The OWA+DP acts to amplify the voices of women in public and well as professional spheres.”

To share your thoughts on the mission statement, suggest other actions, or share your thoughts and feelings on the current political climate, please join the new discussion thread on our Forum. We have posted this statement there and welcome your comments. This discussion will be open only to logged-in members.

For a more personal response to the election, please read the Editorial also contained in this newsletter.

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