Architects release first gender equity progress report

24 November 2017

The founding Architects Male Champions of Change group has today released its first progress report detailing the learnings and actions completed since its establishment and mapping out commitments for 2018 to improve gender equity in the profession.
Established in March 2015 by the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects, it is one of the industry-specific groups under the broader national Male Champions of Change program and comprises CEOs and Directors of some of the largest state, national and international Australian firms including Bates Smart, BVN, Cox, Crone, Carter Williamson, HASSELL, PTW, SJB and Woods Bagot.  Collectively, they cover over 2000 staff within the architectural profession.
The report includes a measure of participation rates, new starters, promotions and pathways, departures, parental leave and submissions ratio over 2015/16 and 2016/17.
As well as committing to the broader Male Champions of Change initiatives to address the gender pay gap, everyday sexism and taking the panel pledge, the group: 

  • conducted a Flexibility Survey in 2016 and subsequently implemented All Roles Flex policies across participating practices in July 2017;
  • conducted 31 listening and learning focus groups in 2016;
  • co-hosted an Australian Institute of Architects (NSW Chapter) Domestic and Family Violence event to raise awareness as to why this is a workplace responsibility in 2017; and
  • committed to a Submissions Ratio to include women in all tender and bid submissions with the intent to measure and improve on female participation over time in this critical, client-facing aspect of architects’ work.
    Among a range of actions committed to for next year, each practice in the group will also review the Best Practice Parental Leave Entitlement Guide it has established with the aim to incorporate fully in 2018.
    NSW Chapter Immediate Past President and founder of the group Shaun Carter said: ‘Gender equality in architecture will mean a more successful, balanced, insightful, caring, family orientated and profitable workplace. Our challenge is to make this happen.
    ‘What we need is cultural change. We don’t need any more talking; we need action.
    ‘Through the Listening & Learning sessions, we are gaining real insights into the measures needed to make a practical and enduring difference in architectural workplaces across the country.
    ‘For example, our work has uncovered a 24/7 working culture which led to a preference for “ideal workers” who were prepared to invest long, unpaid hours in the office. This was supported by a business structure that recorded visible time spent on projects in lieu of documenting project deliverables or recognising project relationship building.
    ‘In response, we are reviewing how we measure performance to move away from timesheets towards deliverables.
    ‘Similarly, those that returned from parental leave in a part-time role, commented on challenges in receiving meaningful and rewarding work on reduced hours. Our submission ratios is another practical measure we are taking to effect change on this issue that will really be felt on an individual and a practice level.’
    NSW Chapter President Andrew Nimmo said the Institute would continue to support and facilitate the group’s work to keep up the momentum for lasting change.
    ‘As the report notes, we are just at the beginning and recognise the extent of the work still to be done to achieve a truly equitable architectural profession,’ Mr Nimmo said.
    ‘However, we are seeing change and we will continue our efforts to drive this forward and embed it in the day to day operations and attitudes of all practices and practitioners.’
    View the full report here.