Join AIA San Francisco as we convene to transform challenging issues by research and equitable practice within the architectural profession and explore changes necessary to keep future generations of practitioners engaged in the field.
In the United States, women represent about 50% of students enrolled in architecture programs, but only 18% of licensed architects are women. This statistic, coupled with the momentum behind the Denise Scott Brown Pritzker Prize Petition, Lean In by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and other conversations about "What happened to Feminism?" lead to a perfect storm.
The Missing 32% resulted from an incubator event conceived and produced in 2011 by the AIA SF Communications Committee. In turn, “Ladies (and Gents) Who Lunch with Architect Barbie” was inspired by a partnership between AIA National and Mattel on “Architect Barbie” whose place on the toy manufacturer’s line-up was insured by Despina Stratigakos and her colleague, architect Kelly Hayes McAlonie. At the event, fellow practitioners Dr. Ila Berman, Cathy Simon FAIA, Anne M. Torney AIA, and EB Min AIA joined for a lively panel discussion on the state of women’s participation in the profession, including the impact of “Architect Barbie”.
The popularity of that event fostered The Missing 32% Symposium on October 12, 2012. A broad range of speakers representing different career paths in the profession ranging from those working for large firms such as Marianne O'Brien AIA and Caroline Kiernat, AIA as well as sole practitioners and small firms including Anne Fougeron FAIA and Eliza Hart AIA. Panels and Break Out sessions highlighted statistics that detail the current leadership structure of architecture firms and discussion on the following: What defines leadership? Who are the leaders within your firms? Who wants to be the leaders? And how can men and women work together to increase the value and preserve future talent of the profession.
Fast forward, 2 years and 2 sold-out symposiums later, the conversation of women's roles in architectural practice coupled with overall challenges for equitable practice and professional satisfaction have driven a call to action. The formation of this group and website came from the desire to continue the discussion more frequently than an annual forum with a desire to change workplace policy and culture. In July of 2013 less than a month following the second Missing 32% Symposium, an AIA SF Committee formed by panelists from "Building Communication and Negotiation Skills to Fit Your Audience" (Rosa Sheng AIA, Saskia Dennis-van Dijl, Trudi Hummel AIA, and Laurie Dreyer). The charge was to drive additional discussion, research, and publication of best practice guidelines to preserve the profession's best talent.
This site is envisioned as a forum for conversation, a repository for articles, research, guides for equitable practice and a place for honoring the achievements of women architects.
The Architectural profession needs to reflect the diversity of the communities, users, or clients it serves. Our mission is to promote the strategic execution of best practices in the recruitment, retention, and promotion of our profession's best talent in order to expand diversity and inclusion at every level in architectural practice.
AIA San Francisco The Missing 32% Origins - video courtesy of YouTube