10 July 2012

A new website has been launched to foster discussion around the international under-representation of women in architecture.

The site, Parlour: Women, Equity, Architecture was co-created by Dr Naomi Stead from The University of Queensland and is edited by Justine Clark from The University of Melbourne to bring together research, informed opinion and resources on women, equity and architecture.

It has created both national and international discussion on the role and importance of women in the architectural profession.

Dr Stead, a research fellow for UQ’s Centre for Architecture Theory Criticism History, says Parlour provides a much-needed forum for discussion and opportunities available for women in the industry.

“The architecture profession likes to think of itself as a progressive, equitable meritocracy, but unfortunately that’s just not the case,” Dr Stead said.

“While we don’t believe that explicit prejudice or discrimination is a significant problem in the profession in Australia, we do know that there is implicit bias, a lack of pay equity, and that women as a group are not remaining in the profession, and progressing to leadership positions, as they should.”

Although the website has an Australian focus, the issues it covers are international.

Addressing a current lack of resources and platforms available to women architects, Parlour aims to provide a forum for discussion on workplace issues in architecture, including flexible conditions and work/life balance, as well as celebrating the many female architects who contribute to the profession.

“What we’re aiming for here is real social change,” Dr Stead said.

“It’s one thing to undertake scholarly research. It’s another to actually reach out to the profession.

“We’ve already demonstrated that there is a problem, and Parlour will allow us to connect with the entire architectural profession and start a conversation about how we want to work, and how this can be better and more equitable for both women and men in architecture.”

Parlour seeks to expand the platforms and opportunities available to women in the architectural profession.

The website is based on the Australian Research Council Linkage Grant Equity and Diversity in the Australian Architecture Profession: Women, Work and Leadership, led by Dr Stead, with the assistance of eight scholarly collaborators from four universities, along with five industry partners.

The Parlour website is curated and edited by Justine Clark, a senior research fellow at The University of Melbourne, with support from co-editors Naomi Stead, Karen Burns, Sandra Kaji-O’Grady, Julie Willis, Amanda Roan and Gill Matthewson.

Catherine Griffiths of Studio Catherine Griffiths developed the Parlour identity and typography, documentary photography is by Nick Bassett, and Peter Johns and Jeanie Hague-Smith of Butterpaper built the site.

Media: Dr Naomi Stead (n.stead@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3365 3848) or Madelene Flanagan (m.flanagan@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3365 8525)