Posts tagged with "International Women's Day":

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Industry veteran offers advice for women in architecture

As the sole founder and president of Bortolotto, a design and architecture firm in Toronto, I have had my fair share of gender-based discrimination throughout my career. On this International Women’s Day, I find myself reflecting on the 20-year journey as a female-led firm and the implications it has for the female architects of today. From learning how to be heard in the boardroom to mastering project bids and networking in a room full of men, there are skills that I’ve had to hone on a steep learning curve of condescending comments and awkward conversations starting at the beginning of my career. My hope is that the women navigating the architecture industry in 2019 are able to take the work of their forerunners and leverage those advances to their benefit and success today. The truth is that women are natural leaders and are necessary to every senior management team, but the statistics make motivating female entrepreneurs difficult: A study by Dezeen found that women occupy just 10 percent of the highest-ranking jobs at the world's leading architecture firms, while 16 firms have no women at all in senior positions. The study also showed that the percentage of women decreases steadily at each ascending tier of management. Only 3 of the top 100 architecture firms are headed by a woman while just 10 percent of the very highest leadership positions are held by women. These numbers ultimately mean that women are desperately underrepresented and that the architecture we see around us is built by men, for men. That being said, women make up 50 percent of the population and 47 percent of the workforce. Women are entrepreneurs, consumers, mothers, employees, and leaders—all types of women need to be represented at a table full of decision-makers and at all management levels. When it comes to boardrooms specifically, women tend to be at a disadvantage. With women being so much in the minority, it can feel discouraging and impossible to make an impact at the table when looking around. From my experience in the male-dominated architecture industry and in boardrooms outnumbered by men, our work and experience are highly valued—although that may not seem the case at first. Your peers will listen to you when you make yourself heard. Here are some tips for getting recognized: State your views clearly When you are outnumbered in a meeting and others are dominating the conversation, it can be difficult to get your thoughts and ideas in. Oftentimes, fears of looking foolish or being ridiculed stop us from saying what needs to be said. My top advice is to not be afraid to be firm in expressing your opinion. Your knowledge is essential to the conversation, so when you feel it is appropriate to add value, jump right in, speaking clearly and remaining firm behind your views. Create a presence and be confident Women report feeling less confident because they believe that they have only been appointed to a boardroom to fill a “women quota,” and not because they have expertise and add value. Rather than doubting ourselves, women should march into meetings with confidence in their knowledge and experience, ready to bring to the table everything they have to offer. Rather than sinking into the background, embrace your presence and join the conversation confidently. Bring your perspective to the table and stay true to your values As an architect, I often come at challenges from a design perspective, which requires a mind that not only thinks outside the box, but also can be eccentric, without conforming to the rules. Sometimes it’s easier to agree with the majority than voice your own contradictory opinion, but this is not how policies change or how great ideas come to light. A major reason for gender diversity is to ensure a balanced insight is brought to the table. But it’s not enough to just bring a “woman’s perspective;” rather, your specific knowledge and expertise is as valuable as your peers’ and is an important part of the discussion.  Give credit and take credit Giving everyone who deserves credit for their work is part of being a supportive leader and a way to showcase that success is a collaborative effort. That also means learning to take credit and acknowledging your success when appropriate. Demonstrating that women are equal partners is essential for earning deserved respect. Change is on the horizon and it starts here today, with you. Insisting on an equal number of women in leadership roles is the start to true gender equality in the workplace, but ensuring our voices are heard on every platform—whether working at a construction site, in a boardroom, or on a team for a client—is the spark that starts the flame. Tania Bortolotto is the founder of Bortolotto, a Toronto-based architecture firm.
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Four more statues of pioneering New York women are coming to town

Four more legendary New York women are set to be honored with permanent statues around the city: Billie Holiday, Elizabeth Jennings Graham, Dr. Helen Rodríguez Trías, and Katherine Walker. Their likenesses will be erected as part of She Built NYC, a near-year-old campaign started by New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray and former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen to address the lack of monuments dedicated to the historic accomplishments of women in New York. Selected through an open call that drew over 2,000 nominations, these four new statues, along with the previously-announced piece honoring Shirley Chisholm, will bring a She Built NYC monument to every borough. Billie Holiday Queens Borough Hall, Queens American jazz legend Billie Holiday rose to fame in the 1930s with a powerful, soulful voice. Though she was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Baltimore, Holiday’s legacy also lives in New York where she moved in 1929 as a young girl. A theater dedicated to the prominent singer was built in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, in 1972 and recently renovated by MBB Architects in 2017. Elizabeth Jennings Graham Vanderbilt Avenue Corridor near Grand Central Terminal, Manhattan At just 27 years old, schoolteacher Elizabeth Jennings Graham stood up against racial segregation in the mid-19th century when she boarded a streetcar for whites only. She later wrote an account of the incident and filed a lawsuit against the Third Avenue Railroad Company and won. Because of her bravery, transit segregation was dismantled in New York and by 1860, all streetcar lines were open to African-Americans. Dr. Helen Rodríguez Trías St. Mary’s Park, Bronx Dr. Helen Rodríguez Trías was a lifelong public servant and pediatrician dedicated to advancing reproductive rights, and HIV/AIDS care and prevention, as well as serving communities of color. Her many leadership positions, from serving as the medical director of the New York State Department of Health’s AIDS Institute to being the first Latinx director of the American Public Health Association (APHA), allowed her to make a significant change to not only the medical landscape in New York City but across the country. In 2001, President Bill Clinton presented Rodríguez Trías with the Presidential Citizens Medal. Katherine Walker Staten Island Ferry Landing, Staten Island As the keeper of the Robbins Reef Lighthouse in New York Harbor for over three decades, Katherine Walker helped rescue about 50 sailors from shipwrecks during her tenure. She was appointed to the position in 1890 by President Benjamin Harrison after her husband died. Born in Germany, she immigrated to the United States just eight years before taking on the monumental task of overseeing all maritime movements in the Kill Van Kull, a shipping channel between Staten Island and Bayonne, New Jersey. According to She Built NYC, the new monuments will be commissioned through the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art process, which means community input will be at the core of the artist selection and design processes. The search for the individual artists is expected to begin at the end of this year with the fully-built statues coming online between 2021 and 2022.
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Here are some scholarships and resources for women in architecture

It's no secret that architecture has a diversity problem. Though roughly half of architecture grads are women, women make up only 14 percent of those employed in the architecture and engineering occupations, according to a 2016 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (and those in the field still average salaries that are 20 percent less than their male counterparts). While some things are changing as the industry opens its eyes to the wide variety of professionals in the design industries, it's undeniable that still more needs to be done. In celebration of International Women's Day, we've rounded up a list of resources to help support and connect women in architecture, design, and related fields. Beverly Willis Architectural Foundation Founded in 2002 by famed architect Beverly Willis, this organization seeks to increase awareness of women architects throughout history with projects like the Pioneering Women of American Architecture website, while also fostering the next generation of industry voices through initiatives like the Emerging Leaders Program and the Built By Women event series. National Organization of Minority Architects NOMA works to promote diversity in all aspects of the design professions, through community engagement and professional development, with the goal of minimizing the effects of racism in the field. Check with local chapters for opportunities geared toward women minorities in the design professions, including networking meet-ups and lecture series. ArchiteXX This independent, unaffiliated organization for women in architecture, composed of academics and practitioners, seeks to transform the architecture profession by "bridging the academy and practice." Every month, ArchiteXX sends out a list of resources and opportunities specifically of interest to women in academia and practice. Those interested can sign up through their website. Architects Foundation The Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Academic Scholarship, which was named in honor late founder of the firm Payette and founder of the AIA's Women's Leadership Summit, is an annual $10,000 award for a woman entering their third year of undergraduate study or beyond. In addition, each recipient is paired with a senior-level mentor from Payette, to help her grow her professional network. AIA While many local AIA chapters offer their own resources for women, the nationwide, Women's Leadership Summit has grown from a grassroots movement to a national phenomenon as the biannual program prepares to celebrate its 10-year anniversary with the 2019 edition. American Planning Association Foundation The American Planning Association Foundation's Judith McManus Price Scholarship offers awards to women, African American, Hispanic, and Native American students currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program approved by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB), with plans to work in the public sector and demonstrated financial need. Scholarships range from $2,000 and $5,000, and application forms will be available in early April for 2018 applications. Association for Women in Architecture + Design AWA+D is a group dedicated to promoting the education and careers of women in the fields of architecture and design. They offer a variety of resources, including foundation offering a fellowship program that grants a women with 10-plus years design experience in Southern California the funding to produce a significant work of publishing or research. National Organization of Women in Construction Each year, the professional organization awards some $25,000 in scholarships (ranging from $500 to $2,500) for undergraduate students with a minimum 3.0 GPA in construction-related fields. Houzz Scholarship Program The online design community offers twice-yearly student awards, including the Women in Architecture Scholarship. The $2,500 prize is open to female students studying architecture or architectural engineering with the goal of working in the residential sphere. American Association of University Women With roots dating back to 1881, the AAUW offers a variety of programs promoting education and equity for women and girls. The Selected Professions Fellowships offers grants for those pursuing fields where women's participation has historically been low, including architecture and engineering. What are your favorite resources for women in architecture? Spread the word in the comments. And there's still time to have your voice heard in the AIA 2018 Equity in Design Survey. The online survey closes March 16.
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Brazilian Architect Carla Juaçaba Wins First arcVision Prize For Women in Architecture

Thanks to the Italcementi Group, International Women’s Day just became that much more special. This year the group found a unique way to celebrate the holiday by instituting the very first competition its arcVision—Women in Architecture prize, an award that valorizes the increasingly important role women have and continue to play in architecture. The jury selected 19 finalists from 15 different countries including but not limited to Egypt, Switzerland, Singapore, Italy, and Thailand. The architects were judged according to their creative approach in designing an unconventional structure as well as their ability to design a building that responds to the context of its site. The prize was bestowed to Brazilian architect Carla Juaçaba at a press conference at the group’s i.lab Research Center (designed by Richard Meier) in Bergamo on March 7th, and was publicly announced the following day for International Women’s Day. Juaçaba, who collaborated with artist Bia Lassi, won for her design of the Pavilion Humanidade 2012 project developed specifically for the United Nations' conference on sustainable development, Rio +20. The architect innovatively designed a translucent waterfront scaffold building made entirely of previously-used, recyclable materials. The temporary structure was used to house private spaces as well as the two-week private exhibition on sustainability. By designing a structure that is exposed to all weather conditions Juaçaba designed a pavillion that was seamlessly integrated into it’s natural surroundings. The architect, who says her design was inspired by the work of Paulo Mendes, explained “sustainability and geography are closely related in architecture.  It might make sense to build on Africa or in some places in Brazil using clay, or to create green roofs in Buenos Aires, but not in this specific site in the fortress of Copacabana. It’s as if every specific geographical point has to find it’s own equilibrium.” Juaçaba further commented on winning the award by saying, “I think it is really special to have thought of a Prize only for women.  I was never “invited” to all the work I’ve done so far.  I have always had to struggle to prove that I was capable. I’m not saying this just because I am a woman, but I think that for us it is a little more complicated. So it is really great to have such a prize to highlight this effort, because all work requires hard work. I am really very excited.” Additionally, honorable mentions were awarded to three other female architects: Izaskun Chinchilla from Spain, Anupama Kundoo from India, and Siiri Valner from Estonia. This year marks the establishment of a new tradition: from this year forward the Italcementi Group aims to continue recognizing the accomplishments of female architects all over the world through the arcVision Prize.