Women represent 31 percent of the total architecture population in Australia; however, their presence is not so widespread among the senior levels, says gender equity advocacy group Parlour in a new report.

Using data from a recent census, the report projects a bleak picture of the representation of women in architecture, especially in higher and more influential roles.

The numbers are quite encouraging when one considers the significant percentage of women studying architecture. For more than two decades, the number of women in architecture has grown to 31 percent by 2016.

However, attrition metrics analysed by Parlour reveal a strong presence of women architects only in junior roles, with the numbers falling off thereafter amongst the senior ranks.

This unequal attrition, according to report author Gill Matthewson, underlines the sluggish growth of women’s numbers, caused by prevailing gender biases.

More women are choosing to register themselves after completing their architectural education. Parlour has also been encouraging them to do so because “it is more important for women to have credentials, such as registration ”.

The study also suggests that the impact of gender-based bias is more visible as one moves up the value chain, with structural and cultural factors continuing to disrupt the elevation of women into leadership positions.

Pay gap patterns also show older women architects getting lower compensation compared to their male colleagues.

Matthewson calls on architectural firms to take initiatives and reduce the inequity and gender bias in the industry.