Seven out of the 16 new appointments by BVN Donovan Hill on 3 July were female, a statistic the firm believes reflects a changing gender balance in architecture.

The firm announced two new female Senior Associates, Sarah Embling and Hayley Sainsbury, as well as five new associates, Kim Small, Catherine Skinner, Elena Bonanni, Katherine Wiedershen and Rose Emerton.

“This is a reflection of the changing gender balance in architecture as more and more women graduates rise through the profession,” said James Grose, National Director, BVN Donovan Hill.

The gender balance of the recent appointments from BVN Donovan Hill is not be indicative of the gender distribution in the wider industry,   as evidenced in studies such as one by the University of Queensland (UQ).

Equity and Diversity in the Australian Architecture Profession: Women, Work, and Leadership (2011–2014) by Dr Naomi Stead, Proffessor Gillian Whitehouse and Dr Amanda Roan suggests that although nearly half of architectural graduates are women, just one in five registered architects are female.

Sparked by this study, Parlour’s ‘Guidelines to Equitable Practice in Architecture’ was released in May to highlight the key challenges facing women in architecture.

The Parlour guidelines aim to guide employers on how to make changes to policy, recruitment practices, salary structures and workplace conditions to better support gender equity.

Researcher on the project Dr Karen Burns believes the guidelines will have a strong impact on the industry and that architecture firms are pushing to change the large gender gap.

“Architects - male and female - are now pushing for change. We have had lots of consultation from the industry and we expect them to have real impact,” says Burns.