On International Women’s Day, I went to the Design Exchange for their DX Talk, Doin’ It for Themselves. It featured rapid-fire presentations or Pecha Kucha’s that featured creatives, innovators, and disruptors who discuss their products, services, and systems that are poised to change the shape of things to come.
I entered the room when Camille Mitchell Executive director at BEAT took to the stage. She started off by showing a statistic that 28.9% of architects in Canada are female. At the graduation of an architecture degree 51.4% make up the population but as time goes by less than 10% go on to win Pritzer prices and aia gold medals. This brought me back to the Interior Design Show in January where Hip Hop Architect Michael Ford presented a fact that there are only 100 licensed African American women architects in the United States. This is a very gruesome state of architecture especially with the recent #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
So what are we going to do about it to change this statistic and shift the workplace to be more inclusive? Well, Michael Ford is developing a program that helps to push and ignite the next 100 African American architects into the field. In Toronto, BEAT is an independent organization dedicated to supporting equality and diversity in the profession of Architecture through advocacy, community engagement, supporting minorities in Architecture and professional development. Their events promote the advancement of women in the profession, by providing mentorship, networking and leadership opportunities. And with the recent Liberal budget that is promoting gender equality, hopefully, these steps can make sure that women are not left behind in the workplace shuffle and men pick up the slack on the household front.