Women architects continue to be underrepresented in this industry, which shows a clear gender bias towards men, though roughly 40 percent of all architecture graduates have been women in the last decade.
Zaha Hadid is a name that has instant recall value when it comes to women in architecture. However, she’s an exception. Male architects have more or less been celebrated for a long time as icons of the industry, and also credited with some of the most iconic projects ever built.
One reason could be the tendency to attribute any design work to a single person even in a collaborative project.
Throughout history, several women architects have partnered with their husbands or male colleagues, or worked as part of an architectural firm but often see their names missing from the credits.
Denise Scott Brown, for instance, collaborated with her husband, Robert Venturi on a project for which Venturi was honoured with the 1991 Pritzker Prize.
Though there were efforts from within the industry to include Denise’s name on the award, the request was rejected by the Pritzker jury.
A study by Australian website Parlour reveals that men are nearly twice as likely to be registered as an architect than women.
Even architectural courses are lacking in content about the role played by women in the history of architecture, leading to the incorrect assumption that women have only recently contributed to the industry.
With increasing awareness of this inadequate representation of contributions made by women to the architectural industry, several organisations are seeking to address the lacunae by first addressing the missing chapter about women architects in the history of architecture before getting to the current problem of gender inequality.
The International Archive of Women in Architecture is a joint venture between the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies and the university libraries at Virginia Tech.
Established in 1985 by Bulgarian architect Milka Bliznakov, it works to bridge the gap in source material about women’s contributions to architectural history.
The Encyclopaedia of Women & Leadership, which recognises the works of women who played a crucial role in the architectural history of Australia, is another excellent resource.
Similarly, the WikiD Project launched in 2015 crowdsources information about women in architecture through worldwide Wikipedia edit-a-thons.