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    Architects’ gender equality group releases first progress report and urges action

    The Male Champions of Change group has released its first progress report detailing its commitments for 2018 to help improve gender equity across the architectural profession.

    Established in March 2015 by the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects, (AIA), the Male Champions of Change comprises the heads of some of the largest architectural firms in Australia including Bates Smart, BVN, Cox, Crone, Carter Williamson, HASSELL, PTW, SJB and Woods Bagot.   

    Collectively, these firms total over 2000 staff within the architectural profession. 

    As well as committing to the broader initiatives of addressing the gender pay gap and everyday sexism, the group has implemented All Roles Flex policies across participating practices in July 2017; conducted 31 listening and learning focus groups in 2016; co-hosted an AIA domestic and family violence event to raise awareness as to why this is a workplace responsibility; and committed to a Submissions Ratio to include women in all tender and bid submissions and improve on female participation for all client-facing aspects of architects’ work.

    Group founder, Shaun Carter says that, “Gender equality in architecture will mean a more successful, balanced, insightful, caring, family orientated and profitable workplace. Our challenge is to make this happen.”

    “What we need is cultural change. We don’t need any more talking; we need action.”

    “Through the Listening & Learning sessions,” says Carter, “we are gaining real insights into the measures needed to make a practical and enduring difference in architectural workplaces across the country."

    “For example, our work has uncovered a 24/7 working culture which led to a preference for ‘ideal workers’ who were prepared to invest long, unpaid hours in the office. This was supported by a business structure that recorded visible time spent on projects in lieu of documenting project deliverables or recognising project relationship building.”

    “In response, we are reviewing how we measure performance to move away from timesheets towards deliverables,” Carter says.

    AIA NSW Chapter president Andrew Nimmo said the Institute would continue to support and facilitate the group’s work to help institute lasting change.

    “As the report notes, we are just at the beginning and recognise the extent of the work still to be done to achieve a truly equitable architectural profession,” Nimmo says.

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