For a century and a half, women have been proving their passion and talent for building and, in recent decades, their enrollment in architecture schools has soared. Yet the number of women working as architects remains stubbornly low, and the higher one looks in the profession, the scarcer women become. Law and medicine, two equally demanding and traditionally male professions, have been much more successful in retaining and integrating women. So why do women still struggle to keep a toehold in architecture? Where Are the Women Architects? tells the story of women's stagnating numbers in a profession that remains a male citadel, and explores how a new generation of activists is fighting back, grabbing headlines, and building coalitions that promise to bring about change.
Despina Stratigakos's provocative examination of the past, current, and potential future roles of women in the profession begins with the backstory, revealing how the field has dodged the question of women's absence since the nineteenth century. It then turns to the status of women in architecture today, and the serious, entrenched hurdles they face. But the story isn't without hope, and the book documents the rise of new advocates who are challenging the profession's boys' club, from its male-dominated elite prizes to the erasure of women architects from Wikipedia. These advocates include Stratigakos herself and here she also tells the story of her involvement in the controversial creation of Architect Barbie.
Accessible, frank, and lively, Where Are the Women Architects? will be a revelation for readers far beyond the world of architecture.
Despina Stratigakos is associate professor and interim chair of architecture at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. She is the author of Hitler at Home and A Woman's Berlin: Building the Modern City.
"All too timely."--Carol Tavris, Wall Street Journal
"[A] slim but sharp volume on problems women face in the architecture profession. . . . [A] concise, accessible book."--Publishers Weekly
"An excellent introduction to the recurring question that serves as the volume’s title. . . . Compact but thorough."--Library Journal, starred review
"Where Are the Women Architects? . . . explores the reasons why female designers have struggled to gain a foothold in the profession, despite recent efforts and campaigns, and why the attrition of women in the profession continues. . . . From a look at Mattel’s architecture Barbie, an intervention in popular culture, to an exploration of the campaign to pressure the Pritzker committee to give equal recognition to Denise Scott Brown (partner and wife of Pritzker laureate Robert Venturi) [Stratigakos] explores numerous facets of architecture’s gender imbalance."--Patrick Sisson, Curbed
"The book is an excellent primer if you already are concerned about the topic--but especially if you are not."--Anthony Paletta, Urban Land
"Stratigakos does not analyze inequalities from afar. She documents interventions and, in some cases, she is among the main instigators. Though Stratigakos is an academic architectural historian, her own agency is a wonderful departure from the typical academic’s distance from their subject."--Raj Mankad, OffCite.org
"‘Male-dominated’ is an understatement in architecture. . . . In this slim chronicle, architectural historian Despina Stratigakos incisively catalogues the setbacks."--Books in Brief
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Where Are the Women Architects? 1
1. May Women Practice Architecture? The First Century of Debate 5
2. The Sad State of Gender Equity in the Architectural Profession 21
3. What I Learned from Architect Barbie 38
4. Architecture Prizes and the Boys’ Club 50
5. Unforgetting Women Architects:
A Confrontation with History and Wikipedia 65
Conclusion: Looking Back, Moving Forward 77
Photo Credits 115