What's on

The National Committee for Gender Equity (NCGE) has been tasked with bringing the 10 Principles outlined in the Institute’s Gender Equity Policy to life. 

The Committee’s membership intentionally represents almost every chapter, with a mix of men and women from small, medium and large practices as well as academia. This mix has enabled the NCGE to position itself as a unified voice from a diverse background.

After four years of sustained work towards a more equitable profession, the NCGE has had impact both within and outside the Institute. The committee continues to work towards a diverse, equitable and thriving profession.

The National Committee for Gender Equity (NCGE) was established by the National Council in December 2013 to implement the Institute’s Gender Equity Policy and to recommend actions, initiatives and programs required to give practical effect to that policy.

The gender equity policy aims to establish a set of policy principles to ensure the Institute and its members are aligned in valuing and exhibiting principles of fairness and equity, which lead to the provision of equal opportunities, rights and benefits to all men and women engaged within the architectural profession, and to eliminate gender-based impacts on the participation and progression of women within the profession.

2018 Updates

The National Committee for Gender Equity started a new term in May of this year with our annual face to face meeting at the institute’s Melbourne office. It’s already August so it’s time for an update on progress, an insight into our discussion and a look at the plans for the term ahead.

As always, our rotating membership means we have to lose good people and introduce fresh blood. Michael Smith, Catherine Startari and Madeline Sewall have all stood down and will be sorely missed. We thank them for their hard work and generosity of time. We want to make particular mention of Michael’s extended term on the committee, his excellent work in co-chairing the committee and his dedication to raising awareness of gender equity in our profession.

The selection of new members was difficult given the amount of quality submissions that were received after the EOI. The terms of reference for the committee encourage a distribution of members across states, practice size and of course across genders. We would encourage anyone that missed out to apply again next year as we are always looking for committed people. We were excited to welcome Melonie Bayl-Smith (NSW), Anne Clisby (VIC), Ben Shields (VIC) and Jenna Holder (SA). Gill Mathewson, Jessica Hardwick, Chris Major and Genevieve Lilley form the remainder of the committee with Michael Gay joining Kellie McGivern in co-chairing the committee.

We should also note that Melonie Bayl-Smith was awarded the 2018 Paula Whitman Leadership in Gender Equity Prize, making her the first winner to sit on the committee. A huge congratulations to her and we look forward to her input on the committee. If you are interested in nominating for the prize or know of a deserving recipient, nominate now for the 2019 award.

In addition to the core roles of the NCGE, this term will see a concentration of effort on the development of an accreditation system for gender equity within architectural practice. This follows some initial ground work last year which has been supported by the Executive Committee, giving us the green light to proceed to a more detailed investigation for presentation to National Council. This is a long term special project that the committee believes will hasten and provide a catalyst for change by creating a metric that is measurable, useable and expected in all sizes of practice. One long term outcome for the project is to see state and federal governments adopt the accreditation system as a formal consideration or prerequisite for the engagement of architects. Broadly speaking, a reliance on the moral integrity and goodwill of individuals has not seen significant shifts in diversity and equitable practice in our industry to date. Creating a scheme in which firms are incentivised to comply with equity benchmarks has the potential to engender change more effectively. To help us achieve this, we are strengthening relationships with our allies in architecture (Parlour, Architects Male Champions of Change) and looking to other industries for inspiration and support.

Gill Matthewson, our resident data guru, has been providing insight and updates regarding her analysis of the census data dating back to 2000. This will be the first significant update of statistics specifically related to gender equity in architectural practice. The release of this data is expected around September this year and will be a significant benchmark for any progress made since the groundbreaking research released by Parlour in 2012. To spread the word and explain the numbers, we are endeavouring to have each state based Gender Equity Taskforce (GET) host Gill for a live presentation.

GET groups are forming around the country and the NCGE have discussed providing a platform for these groups to align, collaborate and share resources. We see them as integral to the roll out of new policy, raising awareness and organising local events that support members. Over this next term we hope to see a more connected group of people on the ground in each state that can provide a valuable feedback loop that informs the national agenda.

As always the Terms of Reference (TOR) and Gender Equity Policy were reviewed by the committee. The committee sees these documents as flexible working documents responding to the issues and feedback from members. In this term it was decided to define a stronger ‘mission statement’ and add it to the TOR. One reason for this was to simply define some kind of metric from which we can measure progress. It was agreed that as a committee we should be striving for at least 40% female representation in all facets of the Architecture profession in Australia. The 40/40/20 ratio is a logical step forward and incorporates a wider range of diversity than the more static parity targets that might be expected.

Following on from that is the discussion of diversity and equity in general. The NCGE was established toexclusively deal with the lack of female representation in architectural practice but it must be acknowledged that the issues resulting from gender discrimination are applicable to all genders and sexual orientations (Male, Female & LGBT+), as well as racial, health, ability and cultural discrimination. Ultimately the committee is working to make itself redundant but there is still a long way to go before that is a reality, especially when we see the swell of sexual harassment cases that are on the horizon. How is it that harassment and prejudiced behaviour continues to be part of architecture (specifically) and workplace cultures in general? These questions are essential for our learning as a committee and as a profession.We all agree that it is far too early to drop the G (Gender) and dilute the current focus. Having said that, the NCGE does see a need for future expansion into representing the institutes interests in other areas of equitable practice. So, over the course of this term, the NCGE aims to put together a long term roadmap for representing and exploring diversity and equity generally in architectural practice.

We’ll also take this opportunity to remind you that the Committee is responsible for giving practical effect to the Institute’s Gender Equity Policy (the Policy), please take the time to have a look and send us any suggestions, comments or ideas on what you would like to see prioritised, changed or introduced. Get in touch via the webpage.


Go to:

Gender Equity Policy

Committee Members

Articles and Media

Overview of Activities

Paula Whitman-Leadership in Gender Equity Prize

Parental Leave - Special Circumstances Membership


Committee Members

The National Committee for Gender Equity consists of:

Name Practice State
Kellie McGivern - Co-Chair Donald Cant Watts Corke WA
Michael Gay - Co-Chair MSG Architecture WA
Gill Matthewson Monash University VIC
Genevieve Lilley Genevieve Lilley Architects TAS
Jessica Hardwick Happy Haus QLD
Melonie Bayl-Smith Bijl Architecture NSW
Jenna Holder GDH Woodhead SA
Chris Major Welsh + Major Architects NSW
Anne Clisby Denton Corker Marshall VIC
Ben Shields Dreamer VIC


Articles and Media

The NCGE is has been profiling Women In Architecture.  Please visit News and Media to view the series.

Articles and reports by the NCGE:

Importance claiming recognition - Melonie Bayl-Smith

Recruitment: Honestly, transparently…apparently - Michael Gay

Creativity and Humanity: The Benefits of Part Time Employment - Madeline Sewall

2017 NCGE Update - Michael Smith

The Merits of Mentoring - Michael Smith

Leadership - Emma Williamson

Meet the 2016 Gender Equity Committee - Lee Hillam

EOFY Resolutions: Fair and Equitable Pay for all - Leone Lorrimer

Women in Architecture:  BKA Architecture - Lee Hillam

Paula Whitman Leadership in Gender Equity Prize - Article by Parlour

Mentors Preparing for Practice - Michael Smith and Sonia Sarangi

Multiplying Diversity - Gill Matthewson

'You must be fierce' - Lee Hillam

Speak up, women! - Gill Matthewson

GET-ting on with it! - Lee Hillam

Vale Zaha Hadid, 1950 - 2016 - Gill Matthewson

Mind the Gap - Gill Matthewson

Shock horror statistics - Gill Matthewson

Parental Leave Membership with Australian Institute of Architects - NCGE

The Parlour effect - Gill Matthewson

Same words different mouth - Gill Matthewson

Parlour and NCGE - Emma Williamson

NCGE - Article for Parlour by NCGE

The business case for gender equity - Michael Smith

Who counts? - Gill Matthewson

Meet Emma Williamson - Emma Williamson (Deputy Chair of NCGE, Former Chair of NCGE)

The equity interviews: Ross Clark - Michael Smith

The equity interviews: Paul Berkemier - Michael Smith

The equity interview:  David Parken - Michael Smith

The equity interview: David Karotkin - Michael Smith

Architecture and the Goldilocks syndrome - Gill Matthewson

Updating the numbers, part 1: at school -Gill Matthewson

Updating the numbers, part 2: at work - Gill Matthewson

Counting registered architects: no easy matter - Gill Matthewson

Angie the architect meets Rosie the riveter - Gill Matthewson

Building community - Lee Hillam

Taking it to the limit: women as architectural breach - Gill Matthewson

Why bother? - Gill Matthewson

The numbers so far - Gill Matthewson

Women, leadership and democracy - Gill Matthewson

Architect, Barbie and Vitruvius - Gill Matthewson

Studying gender and the profession - Gill Matthewson

Overview of Activities

In May 2015 the NCGE co-hosted its first event alongside Parlour. This event was held in Melbourne at the time of the National Architecture Conference and launched the relationship between Parlour and the Institute. The event was a sell out and Emma Williamson, former NCGE Chair, gave an excellent introduction to the work of the committee and the Institute’s commitment to achieving gender equity in architecture. Ann Lau presented as a guest speaker at the event.

Coinciding with the second NCGE face-to-face meeting in October, the committee’s inaugural CPD event took place, which was developed in collaboration with the VIC Chapter. ‘How to Flex: Creating Flexible Practice for All’ looked at how flexible working arrangements are essential to achieving gender equity in the workplace and how workplace equity applies to a broad range of people, situations and contexts.

Speakers included:

  • Misty Waters, Associate at Bespoke Careers; specialising in recruiting Architects and Designers
  • Lee Hillam, Director at Dunn & Hillam Architects;
  • Patrick Kennedy, Director, Kennedy Nolan Architects; and
  • Leone Lorrimer, CEO of dwp|suters.

The presentations were well considered and thought provoking, and the audience very engaged. The event was also recorded and has been made available on Continuum as a downloadable CPD resource.

Work is currently being progressed on a number of other projects including:

  • The development of a prize to recognise exceptional leadership and an outstanding contribution to the advancement of gender equity in architectural practice, education and governance. This prize has now been endorsed by National Council and the next stage of planning is underway.
  • A campaign to profile women in architecture is currently being rolled out via monthly segments in the Institute’s E-News.
  • Due to the success of the 2015 co-hosted NCGE and Parlour event at the National Conference in Melbourne, a fringe event for the 2016 Conference in Adelaide was held titled Women Transforming the City Part 2.  

Paula Whitman - Leadership in Gender Equity Prize

The Australian Institute of Architects are proud to announce the launch of the inaugural Paula Whitman Leadership in Gender Equity Prize. The Prize aims to recognise exceptional leadership and an outstanding contribution to the advancement of gender equity in architectural practice, education and governance.

Please see the Prize page for more information.

Parental Leave - Special Circumstances Membership

In order to more effectively recognise the diversity of membership, and particularly to facilitate more appropriate career pathways for women in architecture, the Australian Institute of Architects offers special provisions for members who are unable to participate fully in employment, due to being on parental leave from their normal employment.

These members are entitled to all the normal benefits of membership and to a discounted annual fee, which is set at a 75 percent reduced rate of the normal fee for a (non-A+) Level 1 member ($265 as opposed to $1060, a saving of $795 based on 2018 fee rates).

The Parental Leave subscription rate applies to:
• Existing members, but no prior membership period applies;
• Members who do not work more than 20 hours per week because they are the primary carer of one or more children aged 5 or under.

The special subscription rate applies for a period of 2 years from the time the application is approved. Eligible members must reapply for the Parental Leave rate at not more than 2-yearly intervals.  Evidence of eligibility must be provided before eligibility can be approved.

Simply email the membership team at the Institute to discuss your options - membership@architecture.com.au


Should you wish to make contact with the National Committee on Gender Equity or raise any gender equity related issues, concerns or comments, please email Julie Mattingley on julie.mattingley@architecture.com.au