The Australian Institute of Architects (NSW Chapter) launched a new initiative on March 18 that could be a forward step towards a more gender equitable architecture profession.

‘Champions of Change’ was launched at the AIA’s NSW base in Potts Point, Sydney to a crowd of institute members as well as other notable guests. NSW Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick was joined by Arup Australasia CEO Peter Bailey as well as Parlour’s Dr Naomi Stead, Dr Karen Burns and Justine Clark to inaugurate the program and discuss the status of gender equity in architecture and the role of leadership in driving change.

The ‘Champions of Change’ program has already brought together key leaders from across the architecture profession who have become signatories to the program’s charter.

Announced at the launch, the first signatories to the Champions of Change charter include Joe Agius of Cox Richardson,Gary Power of Woods Bagot, Ray Brown of Architectus, Gerard Corcoran of Hassell, Bill Dowzer of BVN, Troy Uleman of PTW, and Philip Vivian of Bates Smart.

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In upholding the outcomes of the charter, signatories will actively seek to advance gender equality across their practices and act as advocates for gender equality within the architectural profession.

The institute says signatories can achieve this by advancing equity in composition, leadership and pay; flexible and consultative workplaces; advocacy; and influence.

Newly appointed NSW Chapter President and member of the Chapter’s Gender Equity Taskforce (GET), Shaun Carter said diversity in experience also brings diversity in design.  “In short, it pays to invest in gender diversity,” he says.