These two data points from NCARB combined with the education statistics from NCES and NAAB are a sign these early career stages aren’t pushing women out (or at least, not any faster than they push out men). That said, flexibility in IDP in terms of experience settings, categories, and beginning IDP before graduation means that this metric actually counts people with a range of situations and career stages, and this can get complicated. For example, the AIA’s 2005 report on diversity noted that nearly twice as many men as women completed IDP in fewer than three years (20% versus 11%) and more women completed IDP in 4 to 6 years (46% versus 38%). If this remains true today, the relatively robust number of female IDP interns in any given year may be somewhat buoyed up by those who remain at this stage while their male peers have already moved on.
NCARB Record Applicants: Applying for an NCARB record is a first step for students or graduates to complete IDP or the ARE. So this is a good indication of intention to become a licensed architect and a solid measure of the pipeline into the profession, since each person should generally only pass this milestone once, to be counted in one year only. In 2013, 39% of NCARB record applicants were women.
AIA Associate Members: The 2014 Foresight Report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) indicates that in 2011, 30% of its associate members were women. This membership category is open to anyone meeting “one of the following criteria: professional degree in architecture; currently work[ing] under the supervision of an architect; currently enrolled in the Intern Development Program (IDP) and working toward licensure; or faculty member in a university program in architecture.” So although this number is an inexact measure of the “pipeline” through the profession, this voluntary membership is a sign of identification and intentions.
We’ve talked about a “pipeline” into the profession a few times, but what does it mean? This idea is often used to describe people of a given demographic advancing from one stage to the next over the course of their careers. When disproportionate numbers stall or drop out at various points along the way, this is described in terms of a “leaky” pipeline.
Although such a mechanical analogy is necessarily reductive, it can help us think at a macro scale. For example, are there few women at the top of the profession due to generational reasons, because there are more women “coming down the pipeline” who just need a few more years to arrive? Or are there specific, measurable points in the pipeline that remain leaky today? Measuring this isn’t easy, as the AIA’s 2005 report on diversity suggests, but we’re going to try. So brace yourselves, because it’s about to get messy as we keep climbing up this chart.