Launch of Guidelines to Equitable Practice in Architecture

Researchers from the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland launched the Parlour Guidelines to Equitable Practice in Architecture at the Australian Institute of Architects Annual Conference today in Perth.

Women make up almost half of all Australian architecture graduates, but just one in five registered architects are female.

Researcher Justine Clark said women are leaving the industry after graduation or as they move into their 30s.

“Unfortunately many architects work incredibly long hours and flexibility and part-time work is not yet an industry norm," said Ms Clark, Senior Fellow at the University of Melbourne's Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning. "This makes it difficult for women to balance work and family commitments."

The research team, including Justine Clark, Professor Julie Willis and Dr Karen Burns from the University of Melbourne and Naomi Stead from the University of Queensland, developed the guidelines to promote more equitable working conditions within the industry.

"The guidelines address the key challenges facing women in architecture," Ms Clark said. "They advise employers on how to make changes to policy, recruitment practices, salary structures and workplace conditions to better support gender equity."

The guidelines are the result of ongoing research, consultation and analysis of international best practice. The suite of guides address prevalent issues including; pay equity, leadership, recruitment, mentoring, negotiation, long hours, part time work, career breaks, professional registration and career progression.

Researcher Dr Karen Burns said measures such as having a transparent pay scheme, offering equal training opportunities and supporting job flexibility and part-time positions, can make workplaces more supportive.

“The Parlour Guidelines offer employees and employers very practical suggestions, like conducting annual pay audits to ensure salaries and duties are equitable for both men and women,” she said.

Dr Burns believes other industries could benefit from the guides. “Many of the challenges facing women architects are the same across all professions," she said. “Women are often poorly represented at leadership levels and haven’t achieved real pay equity.”

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

The Parlour Guides are the outcome of an Australian Research Council funded project.

Development of the Parlour Guidelines was led by Justine Clark and Naomi Stead.

The guidelines are published with the support of the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne.

Download the Parlour Guidelines here.

* Image courtesy @NickBassett published in Atrium, Issue 20 2012  - Women in the professions