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Sexism? There's more in the office than on a building site

Category: Industry News, gender, inequality, gender gap, sexism

Sexism? There's more in the office than on a building site

More women architects suffer sexism in the office from colleagues than on the building site from brickies and plumbers, according to a new survey.

The poll found that 62 per cent said they had suffered discrimination in their own practice compared with just 50 per cent from builders.

One respondent told the Women in Architecture survey: ”I’ve experienced less discrimination from builders on site than from any other section of the industry. The worst experiences have been from clients and colleagues.”

The survey found that sexism is rife - and getting worse - in architecture with three quarters of women professionals claiming they have suffered discrimination, ranging from “inappropriate comments” to different treatment based on gender. The figure is up by four percentage points on last year and by 14 points since 2011.

Bullying is also on the rise with 41 per cent of female architects saying they have experienced it in the past year compared with 27 per cent in 2013.

Overall less than a quarter of women felt that the industry has yet to accept the authority of female architects, according to the poll conducted by the Architects’ Journal.

It also uncovered a gender pay gap with 34 per cent of female architects earning less than £33,000 a year compared with 21 per cent of their male counterparts. At the top end 17 per cent of men in the profession make more than £61,000 but just 5 per cent of wowen.

Stephen Hodder, President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, said: “It’s distressing to learn that many of those who have taken part on the AJ survey this year have experienced bullying in the workplace, and let’s be clear, any bullying in the workplace is unacceptable and shouldn’t be tolerated.

“Any harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010. This not only applies to a person’s gender, but also to their sex, disability, gender, marital status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation.

“I would urge anyone experiencing bullying to contact either their manager or HR department. If this doesn’t work and the harassment continues then seek advice from Acas. As a last resort they could consider legal action though an employment tribunal.”

RIBA’s President Elect and Equality and Diversity Champion Jane Duncan said: “There is no question that both the recession and poor management practices contribute to a less than healthy working culture for many architects.”

More than 1,100 architect, clients, contractors and advisers responded to the survey. More than half the respondents were architects and 80 per cent were women.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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