There is a cultural shift happening… and not just in the field of Architecture. Women are no longer working in predominately “Pink Collar” roles and have also moved into positions of influence. Recently, The Ontario Association of Architects noted that the number of Female Architects
, Newly Licensed Architects and Intern Architects in Ontario is on the rise, and while this is exciting there is still a long way to go.
Now that gender dynamics are shifting, women are making bigger contributions both culturally and socially. Unspoken rules and arrangements that had silently governed our workplace structure are shifting. Perhaps companies are starting to place greater value on social capital.
Architecture, at its core requires emotional intelligence, and the ability to successfully engage with others so as to cause and create positive relationships and spaces; design should do more than just look good. I believe that companies are starting to realize that more diverse strengths and experiences equate to better business in all aspects. Possibly in the past executives rewarded those who came across as strong decision makers, associating decisive as knowing. Those who tend to ask more questions before making a decision might have come across as less decisive. Inclusive decisions that value collaboration will always yield the best results.
Perhaps another reason for inequality is that our reluctance to enter into strategic political alliances could be construed as a lack of ambition. The more familiar we become working with people of diverse backgrounds, identities and skills sets, the easier it will be to understand each other’s strengths, and the melding of these qualities will surely deliver better results.
Conversation abounds these days on women gaining the confidence and skills required to close the gender gap. Some useful advice I have seen work at our firm is:
Sharpen Your Negotiating Skills
Don’t Over Apologize
Talk about Yourself
Seek out Advancement
Lean In…(thank you Sheryl Sandberg)