School Directors, Heads, and Chairs: Based on our data at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), but omitting the more gender-balanced Canadian schools, we find that in 2013, 27% of 140 directors, heads, and chairs at U.S. architecture schools with accredited programs were female. [Note: a version of this slide updated in 2014 is available here.]
School Lecturers: Lori Brown and Nina Freedman of SHarE surveyed 73 architecture school lecture series in the spring of 2013, and found that 26% of 510 scheduled lectures were by women. Further data would be interesting here—for example, how many individual men and women were represented among those 510 lectures, and how many of the most frequent lecturers were women?
Architect Employment: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2013, 25% of the 193,000 people working as “architects, except naval” in the United States were women. This is a powerful but complicated statistic. The BLS counts those who are employed in any industry in an “architects, except naval” role. So this includes those working as architects for the federal government or for developers, but not those employed as craftspeople, university instructors, urban designers, writers and critics, or other roles in which a person may identify with architecture while not practicing it in the strict sense. It includes the self-employed and those on leave, but not those who are unemployed. Importantly, the BLS does not distinguish between licensed and non-licensed practitioners (“apprentices and trainees”). If we’re measuring different points along our pipeline, this metric refers to points that are potentially before, during, and after—or even separate and parallel—to the steps towards licensure described above. By comparison, NCARB reports that there were 105,847 registered architects in the United States in 2012-13, so the BLS figure of 193,000 counts many “intern architects” who are pursuing licensure, as well as those who are not working towards a license.
Deans: By ACSA’s count, 19% of 86 deans at U.S. architecture schools with accredited programs in 2013 were female.
AIA Member Principals and Partners: The AIA’s 2014 Foresight Report indicates that in 2011, 17% of AIA members who were firm principals and partners were women.
Licensed AIA Members: The AIA knows which of its members have a professional license, and in their 2014 Foresight Report they reported that 15% of their licensed members are women. At first glance, it seems strange that this number is lower than the 17% for AIA members who are firm principals and partners. Is this because firm leaders aren’t necessarily licensed? Or because, once licensed, women become principals and partners at slightly higher rates than men? It would also be interesting to quantify whether women are more likely to become sole practitioners or move up the ranks in smaller firms.
ACSA Distinguished Professors: Starting in 1984-85, the ACSA has recognized a handful of living individuals for their sustained achievements in advancing architectural education through teaching, design, scholarship, research, or service. Chosen by a committee based on nominations, 14% (or 17) of 122 recipients over 29 years have been women.
IDP Supervisors: NCARB by the Numbers reports that 13% of IDP Supervisors—firm managers who supervise and review the work of intern architects submitting IDP hours, and who in most cases must be licensed architects—are women.
AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallions: One Topaz Medallion is awarded each year to a living person who has influenced “a long line of students” over at least a decade primarily spent in North American architectural education. Based on nominations and selected by a jury, 5% (or 2) of 39 recipients since 1976 have been women: Denise Scott Brown in 1996 and Adèle Naudé Santos in 2009.
Pritzker Prizes: Known as the “Nobel Prize of architecture,” the Pritzker is each year awarded to a single living practicing architect (or occasionally a pair) in recognition of significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through built works of architecture. Decided by a jury, based on nominations solicited from notable people in the field, 5% (or 2) of 39 Pritzker Prize recipients since 1979 have been women. This includes Zaha Hadid in 2004, and Kazuyo Sejima in 2010, alongside her male partner Ryue Nishizawa.
AIA Gold Medals: This highest honor that the AIA bestows upon an individual or pair recognizes “a significant body of work of lasting influence,” based on nominations and reviewed by a jury. Of 69 medals since 1907, one has been awarded to a woman (Julia Morgan, posthumously in 2014), representing 1% of the total.
All of this makes it clear that as you look higher in the architectural profession or in academia, you see fewer women. Even in architecture school today, fewer than 50% of students are women, and the numbers start dropping off sharply, from around 40% to around 25% and fewer when we start looking at practice and higher levels in the profession and academia.