On Achieving An Equal Future: International Women’s Day 2021

Another year and another International Women’s Day. Although recently, the gender debate has taken considerable attention, the battle for equality is far from over. Even in the 21st century, architecture can still be a challenging profession for women. Progress is happening though, and in 2020, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara became the 4th and 5th women to receive the Pritzker prize, ever since its inception in 1979.

Not limiting our coverage to the 8th of March, ArchDaily recognizes every day the female force that is shaping the built environment around the world. In fact, Women in Architecture is one of the main pillars of our content strategy. This year, for International Women’s Day, ArchDaily has decided to feature a week of curated content, with exclusive interviews and thought-provoking editorials. Join us as we highlight women that deserve a seat at the table, and share tools to achieve an inclusive world.

Sesc Pompéia / Lina Bo Bardi. Image © Nelson KonYvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara. Image Courtesy of Grafton ArchitectsWeavers on the Bauhaus staircase, 1927. From top to bottom: Gunta Stölzl (left), Ljuba Monastirskaja (right), Grete Reichardt (left), Otti Berger, (right), Elisabeth Müller (light patterned sweater), Rosa Berger (dark sweater), Lis Beyer-Volger (center, white collar), Lena Meyer-Bergner (left), Ruth Hollós (far right) and Elisabeth Oestreicher. Image © T. Lux Feininger; collection of the Bauhaus-Archiv BerlinWoman working in brickyard - Madagascar. Image via Shutterstock/ By Damian Ryszawy+ 25

Why is it still important to talk about “female architects”?

Because whether some of us want to admit it or not, there is still a gender imbalance in the profession that forges the built environment. The built environment destined for everyone is still, to this day, not envisioned by everyone. It’s true that numbers fluctuate from a society to another, but this concern is still omnipresent, and we find ourselves -in a world that reputedly praises equality- monitoring issues such as gender gap, equal pay, opportunities, and representation, to name a very few. Most of us haven’t encountered, during our architectural studies, many women professors or role models other than the few female “starchitects”. Although there are plenty of women who stood out in the architecture and urbanism fields, many were never given recognition nor visibility. Every generation needs to have inspirational figures to look up to, and this one in particular needs to understand that there are many more females that paved the way and many more women to identify with.

Ilustração de @cipriastudio Marzia Iacono e Anna Lisa Pruiticiarello | Itália. Image © MMW
Ilustração de @cipriastudio Marzia Iacono e Anna Lisa Pruiticiarello | Itália. Image © MMW

On women’s day, it’s not a question of making women feel “special”.

While part of it is about celebrating female-led accomplishments, another is about highlighting those who are making it on their own terms -defining their own notion of success- and sharing their ideas and visions. In addition, this occasion seeks to encourage women to have a bigger say in the architectural and urban realms. At the end of the day, women make up half of the population, and making it harder for them to be part of the profession is limiting the inclusiveness and creativity of our built environment. In fact, Women’s day is also a means to underline the persisting issue of discrimination. There is still a lot of progress that needs to be made to achieve gender equality within the profession… and because equality is only achieved by fighting for your own rights, our combat will consist of adjusting historical narratives, praising the achievers, showcasing new faces, and new multidisciplinary initiatives, and most importantly, in presenting tools and concepts that can help close the gender gap.

Once equality is set, on a worldwide level, only then we can start changing the narratives, from women architects to architects.

St. Joseph’s College, 1975. Image Courtesy of Women’s School of Planning and Architecture Records, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College (North Hampton, Massachusetts)
St. Joseph’s College, 1975. Image Courtesy of Women’s School of Planning and Architecture Records, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College (North Hampton, Massachusetts)

From the launch of hercity, a platform by UN-Habitat that involves girls in urban development, to covering Women Leaders in Planning, all the way to asking How to Increase the Pipeline for a More Inclusive Profession, this week, ArchDaily is going to dig deeper into major topics, unveiling inspiring content. And to mark this 8th of March 2021, we have created a selection of articles published across the years, that breaks down our strategy. Discover the curated list below and find out more on the tags Women in Architecture and Women Architects.

Adjusting the Historical Narrative

Claire Bataille and Paul Ibens, ca. 1968. Archive of Claire Bataille and Paul Ibens Design, Collection Flemish Architecture Institute, Collection Flemish Community © Paul Lambert . Image Courtesy of Wiki Women Design. Image © Paul Lambert
Claire Bataille and Paul Ibens, ca. 1968. Archive of Claire Bataille and Paul Ibens Design, Collection Flemish Architecture Institute, Collection Flemish Community © Paul Lambert . Image Courtesy of Wiki Women Design. Image © Paul Lambert

How Did the Evolution of Women’s Role in Society Change the Built Environment?

Wiki Women Design: Unlocking the Contributions of Belgian Female Designers on Wikipedia

The 10 Most Overlooked Women in Architecture History

City Dreamers Documentary Highlights Four Women Architects Who Rethought the City

The Often Forgotten Work of Denise Scott Brown

Exploring Challenges/ Presenting tools

In the workshops, women learn together the basic principles of building construction. Image Courtesy of Arquitetura da Periferia/ Portal Aprendiz
In the workshops, women learn together the basic principles of building construction. Image Courtesy of Arquitetura da Periferia/ Portal Aprendiz

Stephanie Ribeiro on how “Architecture Must Recognize the Debate Around Race and Gender”

How To Eliminate Gender Disparity in Architecture, According to Our Readers

6 Initiatives that Empower Women in the Architectural and Construction Sectors

UN-Habitat Promotes Inclusive Planning and Gender Equitable Cities Using Technology

What Can Cities Imagined by Women Look Like? The Case of Barcelona

3 New Films Showcase 7 Architects Redefining the Role of Women in Architecture

Highlighting Women across Disciplines

Illustration by Matri-Archi(tecture). Image © Kizzy Memani, Phathu Nembilwi
Illustration by Matri-Archi(tecture). Image © Kizzy Memani, Phathu Nembilwi
Illustration by Matri-Archi(tecture). Image © Kizzy Memani, Phathu Nembilwi
Illustration by Matri-Archi(tecture). Image © Kizzy Memani, Phathu Nembilwi

Monocle 24 Explores Women in Urbanism

A Look Ahead: What’s Next for the Women in Design Movement?

A New Urban Model for a New Project of Society: An Interview with Tainá de Paula

Women in Architecture Photography: 12 Names to Know

Women of ArchDaily Talk About the Future of Architecture

Underlining New Faces, New Ideas

Tiffany Brown with students. Image Courtesy of 400 Forward
Tiffany Brown with students. Image Courtesy of 400 Forward

Empowering African American Female Architects and Students: In Conversation with Tiffany Brown, Founder of 400 Forward

Spatial Education and the Future of African Cities: An Interview with Matri-Archi

In conversation with Anastasia Elrouss: Architect, Activist, and Founder of Warch(ée) NGO

Madame Architect’s Julia Gamolina on Rejecting the Misogyny in Architecture in Design and the City Podcast

Celebrating the Achievers  

Solstice Arts Centre / Grafton Architects. Image © Ros Kavanagh
Solstice Arts Centre / Grafton Architects. Image © Ros Kavanagh

An Introduction to Seven Influential and Innovative Women of the Bauhaus

5 Women Changing the Face of Architecture

12 Award-Winning Women in Architecture From the Past 12 Months

Celebrating a Generation of Women Leaders in Architectural Practices around the World

Ensuring Equal Representation

The High Line in New York, one of the projects Elizabeth Diller is known for. Image © Iwan Baan
The High Line in New York, one of the projects Elizabeth Diller is known for. Image © Iwan Baan

The Women of HKS: Architects and Researchers Designing Resilient Cities

Building Community: The Women of Sasaki Designing More Sustainable and Inclusive Futures

“Architecture Can Heal”: MASS Design Group’s Katie Swenson on Building Equity Together

Find more articles in this My ArchDaily folder created by the author.