Women Experience Pay Gap and Discrimination in Architecture

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May 2, 2018

Multiple studies and surveys in the field of architecture show women still have a long way to go before they reach pay and opportunity parity. Sexual discrimination and harassment are also widespread.

A 2016 British poll of 1,277 women and 340 men showed a widening pay disparity, with the salary gap broadening as seniority increases. The survey, conducted by The Architect’s Journal (AJ) and The Architectural Review, showed women are paid £55,000 less than men at the director, partner, and principal level—a figure that has risen by £42,000 since 2014.

Female architectural assistants reported salaries £1,800 less than men doing the same job; project architects, £3,000 less; associates, £2,000 less; and female directors, £12,700 less. A 2017 report of pay disparity at British architectural firms Foster + Partners and AECOM—large international firms with offices also in the U.S.—showed large gender gaps.

The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA’s) Diversity in the Profession of Architecture survey from 2016 reported 50% of female respondents believed women were less likely to be paid the same as men for the same role. The British study also showed “sexual discrimination and bullying are rife,” according to former AJ editor Laura Mark.

Another 2016 report by the AIA, “Women in Architecture,” showed that of the 1,152 women surveyed worldwide, 72% said they had experienced sexual discrimination, harassment, or bullying within
architecture—up from 60% in 2015, with 12% reporting it occurred to them at least monthly.

RCI has 169 members with the designation AIA or RA (registered architect), with 14 (8.3%) believed to be women. Seven percent of its members who are professional engineers are women (17 out of 243). Eight percent of RCI’s 3,500 members overall are women.

— Multiple sources