Let's take a trip back to last Friday, shall we, when the article "Why Do Women Really Leave Architecture?" was posted on The Architectural Review. The magazine asked Maria Smith, one of last year's Emerging Architecture winners, to elaborate on her thoughts about Women and Architecture.
She clearly outlined, to put it in the simplest way, that architecture sucks ass -- BIG TIME! Ok, I'm not even going to comment on how one-sided her comments were:
• "Being an architect is horrible - long hours, low pay, stress and poor job satisfaction"
• "It's very hard to balance architecture with motherhood."
• "Architecture is sexist, stuck in the wattle and daub ages when it comes to sexual discrimination..."
Yadda yadda yadda...
but I will say this, at the risk of sounding "one-sided," there are more than a handful, successful, professional, charismatic, insanely smart, and ridiculously talented women architects and designers who could care less about these commentaries about women who aren't happy in their profession. A few of which I will list here because I believe, not that it matters to them, that they belong on this list: Carlie Campesi (HLW Int'l.), Michelle Boll (Gensler), Tracy Stultz (Sonka Stultz Design), to name a few. These three kick architecture's butt and do it well!
That's not to say that they haven't struggled with the profession, we've all gone through ups and downs, but if you do some research, these women actually love what they do - shits aside.
Maria Smith does, however, touch base on something absolutely true: "Architecture is not as creative as it purports to be." And what's funny is, we are told this a million times over during our art/design classes in college, but yet we fail to believe it until we're actually placed in the lion's den - such is life sometimes. But the silver-lining here is that we, the professionals who have been in the industry since swinging our tassels to the other side of our college graduation caps, actually find comfort knowing that the clear division here doesn't lie between male and female, but rather, it lies in those who stay comfortable in the architecture profession and those who just don't give a crap about articles written by writers who say: 35% like apples and only 12% like red wine. (And yes, that's just an example)
To which the following response by Vanessa Quirk of ArchDaily tapered into the discussion about "'Why Do Women Really Leave Architecture' Is The Wrong Question."
Thank you Vanessa, for single-handedly putting Maria Smith in her place. Where Smith was quick to say:
“Our first explanation, that architecture is horrible, must ring true for the majority of practising architects, but that does not make it a women’s issue. At best this explanation is a red herring; at worst it supports dodgy statements that architecture is too tough for girls. You can say architecture-is-competitive-and-aggressive-in-a-way-that-women-tend-to-identify-less-with until you’re blue in the face, but until architecture is less eager to revel in its own agony, how can we expect healthy, non-masochistic individuals, male or female, to become architects?"
Quirk easily responded:
"This argument, although absolutely valid, suggests that women are leaving architecture because they’re too weak to “stick it out.” If not, why wouldn’t men be leaving too? As such, it seems a counter-productive explanation."
So, background's aside, here is my list of "Why Women Really SHOULD Stay In Architecture:"
• There's nothing one-sided or two-sided about anything while working with women, or men for that matter, in this profession. All our crap goes down the same pipe. Meaning: we're all feeling, opinionated, soft-spoken, vociferous, human beings that, for the most part, aren't always labeled by gender.
• Men have babies too. And sometimes, the profession doesn't equally give the same concern to us men when it comes to paternity.
• Women, let's face it, are the yin to our yang, the soft to our hard, the crème fraîche to our butternut squash soup. They compliment us and we compliment them. It's as simple as that!
With that said, here's something to get your weekend started riiiiight!